Practicing medicine for more than fifty years, the 74-year-old doctor spends most of his day in his clinic providing medical assistance to thousands of displaced and vulnerable people.
Dr. Ihsan EzzEddin describes medications for one of his patients.
Dr. Ihsan Ezedeen, a Syrian doctor born in Swaida governorate in 1943. After finishing his studies at Damascus University he became a Pediatrician specialist in 1968, he opened a clinic in Jaramana city. AT that time, he began to feel a new calling: “serving my community, and caring for the sick and the poor.”
“I chose to take care of the vulnerable and poor people because I lived in this community and I witnessed the conditions they live in. I decided to provide an affordable service to the poor so that they are not burdened financially and I still can make a living.”
“serving my community, and caring for the sick and the poor.”
Dr. Ihsan Ezedeen is one of the five inspirational heroes who were short-listed for the 2017 Nansen Refugee Award but narrowly missed out on winning.
Through his work, Dr. Ezedeen ensures always the dignity of people who he helps. He used to ask for very little fees for his service which is now 50 Syrian Pounds (0.1 US dollar) so that those receiving the treatment would feel that it’s a service they actually paid for and not some kind of charity. He also refuses to take any charges from those he sees they can’t afford it. These are almost 70% of his daily patients.
“With the symbolic fee I receive (50 SYP) I think it is not a burden on any person. As for my income, for me (100- 150 patients daily) is sufficient income to enable me to live reasonably”, Dr. Ezedeen explained.
From the beginning of the crisis in Syria, thousands of displaced people from different communities approached Ezedeen’s clinic. “I support everybody, but with the current situation displaced people need more care”, he said.
Even before the crisis, he used to provide medical services to Iraqi refugees and Lebanese refugees. He works day and night to ensure people have life-saving surgeries and access to medicine.
Usually, after finishing his work at the clinic, he visits patients who are unable to come to his clinic in their homes and he provides them with treatment and medicines if required. “People get sick in the morning and at midnight, doctors must respond to patients and attend to the sick, this is simply what I took an oath to do”, he said.
Even after treatment, Dr. Ezedeen would give the patients their needed medications, “I receive medicines mainly from pharmaceutical companies and some from colleagues. Whatever medication we have is distributed equally and based on the need.” he explained.
“doctors must respond to patients and attend to the sick, this is simply what I took an oath to do”
With the overwhelming needs throughout the Syria crisis, Dr. Ezedeen started networking with a group of specialist doctors in order to help displaced people, therefore, when he receives a case that needs a surgery or special care, he directly refer it to one of those specialists. “We have a big number of doctors who always provide help”, he continued, “What I achieved I think that I spread tolerance and teamwork spirit among my colleagues (doctors).”
In 2003, Dr. Ezedeen with his wife and some colleagues established “Jaramana Charity” to respond to the needs of vulnerable people in Jaramana city and the surrounding neighborhoods. “I think medical work without social participation does not give results.”
Through this charity, Dr. Ezedeen created a livelihood project in 2016, to ease the suffering of internally displaced people who sought refuge in Jaramana. The project was supported by the UN and now is benefiting 150 women who are trained to sew and produce children’s clothing, of which 30% of the clothes are distributed to the poor for free and the remainder sold in the local market.
Thousands of people from the displaced and host communities are receiving medical service through the clinic, and thousands are having surgeries for free through the network of doctors that he has established. Thousands more receive medicines for free through his clinic.
With the Syria crisis in the seventh year, the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, with ever-increasing unmet needs and suffering. It is estimated that 6.3 million people are internally displaced, nearly half of the total population. Access to medical care and supplies remains appallingly insufficient. An estimated 58% of public hospitals and 49% of primary health centres are either partially functional or have closed.
Dr. Ezedeen has devoted his life to supporting vulnerable people. When war broke out in Syria, he opened the doors of his clinic to internally displaced Syrians. “What I want to achieve in my life is to promote the spirit of charity, volunteering and teamwork. I just want our people to live in peace and harmony”, he lamented.
Dr. Ezedeen is an exceptional individual who has truly gone above and beyond to support those who have lost everything. He is a symbol of hope for thousands of Syrians and his actions could inspire many more. “Any person that is able to give should not stop giving.”