Why are we there?
- Health care exclusion
- Mental health
This is an excerpt from MSF-USA's 2012 Annual Report:
Some 200,000 Syrians sought refuge in Lebanon in 2012, a number that had more than quadrupled by the start of 2014). Then and now, many have been unable to access the care they need.
In 2012, some 63 percent of unregistered refugees had received no assistance whatsoever, according to an MSF study. Many lived (and still live) in overcrowded, substandard structures and cannot afford medical care.
MSF offered basic care and mental health services in the north and east, working at six health facilities in the Bekaa valley.
When winter neared, MSF distributed blankets, hygiene kits, milk, and diapers. Staff provided mental health support as well.
One MSF team provided basic health care, treatment for chronic diseases, and mental health services in Tripoli’s Dar Al-Zahra hospital.
Another provided mental health care and trained emergency room staff in Tripoli’s government hospital. Near the end of the year, MSF started offering basic health services in the city’s poorest and most volatile neighborhoods, too.
In several locations, MSF provided mental health services to Palestinian refugees in overcrowded camps that had further swelled with the arrival of Palestinians who’d been living in Syria.
MSF handed over mental health services at the Burj el-Barajneh camp after holding more than 17,5000 consultations over four years. Staff also coordinated a trauma care course for doctors and nurses throughout the country.
At the end of 2012, MSF had 81 staff in Lebanon. MSF first worked in the country in 1976.
Sami*, 31-year-old Syrian man, Bekaa valley
“We come from the Damascus countryside. We arrived in Lebanon 15 days ago. We fled under shelling with only the clothes we were wearing, when we felt we were about to die. My two nephews, aged four and six, were both killed, and my sister-in-law was wounded. My mother suffers from hypertension and my father is blind.
We are now renting a flat in Baalbeck. The city is full of Syrian refugees. We have only a mat and a few mattresses. It’s cold, we need fuel for heating, and we don’t have money to pay the rent. I cannot find work, life here is expensive, and we need four bread bundles a day.
It is the first time I have been to the MSF clinic. I learned about it when I saw a banner announcing a mobile clinic. Too many people were waiting their turn two days ago so I was told to come back today.
My wife is six months pregnant. I brought her to see the doctor because she has been through so much fear and horror. She is feeling some pain in her womb, but the doctor reassured us that everything was going well, it is only cramps. He also examined my mother and gave her the drugs she needs for her hypertension and ulcer.
My wife was refused a consultation at a local clinic because we are not yet registered with the UN refugee agency. The main problem we are facing for registration is that we are lost. We do not know where to find the registration offices. We were told to go to Al-Marj, 50 kilometers from Baalbeck. With my family we are 10 people – can you imagine me taking all of them so far for registration, in the cold, in their state of health?”
*The man’s name has been changed.