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Drug Shortages And Underground Hospitals: Valley Doctor Delivers Medical Care In Syria

Syrian American Medical Society
Syrian American Medical Society President and Fresno surgeon Dr. Ahmad Tarakji visits a destroyed hospital in northern Syria, October 2018.

Ever since the Arab Spring in 2011, the Middle Eastern country of Syria has been in a near-constant state of civil war. As a result, residents there rely heavily on aid workers from non-governmental organizations for medical care. And the president of one of those NGOs, the Syrian American Medical Society, lives right here in Fresno.

Credit Syrian American Medical Society
Tarakji visits a neonatal center in Atareb, Syria, October 2018.

Dr. Ahmad Tarakji, a cardiovascular surgeon with Kaiser Permanente, recently returned from a mission to the northwest part of the country, to the disputed cities of Aleppo and Idlib. Listen to the interview above for more on how doctors care for the medical needs of this sensitive region - and how he copes with seeing his own home city, Aleppo, ravaged by war.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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