How MSF is fighting COVID-19 in Lebanon
In the Bekaa Valley, the MSF hospital in Bar Elias continues treating COVID-19 patients and the hospital’s ICU beds are fully occupied. MSF still supports the ICU ward in Elias Hraoui Governmental Hospital in Zahle with triage and screening for children. Children with suspected COVID-19 are screened in a designated area and receive appropriate care until their results are known. If positive, children are transferred to COVID-19 referral hospitals or to isolation centers, in collaboration with partners.
In Siblin, in southern Lebanon, we partnered with UNRWA 2021 (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees) in a training center that has been converted into a COVID-19 isolation site. We will end our support at the end of April, but the center will remain open.
MSF’s medical response team continues to support the Ministry of Public Health in its COVID-19 testing strategy across Lebanon.
On March 19 MSF, in collaboration with the MoPH, began vaccinating elderly people and health care workers in nursing homes. We provide the personnel to vaccinate these groups, as per MoPH priority criteria, and we are supplied with vaccines through the MoPH.
In parallel, MSF is conducting health education sessions that include informative about COVID-19 vaccination and the ways to register to get vaccinated.
In a year marked by mass antigovernment protests across Lebanon, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières continued to provide general and specialist health care to host, migrant, and refugee communities.
The demonstrations that took place in 2019 were the largest in terms of numbers, geographical spread, and diversity for decades. Thousands of people protested against the sectarian Lebanese political system, which fueled years of institutional corruption, leading to a stagnant economy, unemployment, and limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water. The economic instability and political deadlock led to rapid inflation. As a result, living conditions deteriorated and health costs increased, affecting the most vulnerable fringes of society, whether Lebanese, migrants, or refugees.
In Lebanon, the health system is highly privatized and fragmented, and free medical services are almost non-existent. Ensuring free access to high-quality general and specialist health care has been MSF’s main objective since 2008. Learn how you can best help in Lebanon and other countries.
In Bekaa Valley, an area with a dense Syrian refugee population, we run general health care services in Arsal, Hermel, Baalbek and Majdal Anjar clinics. We treat chronic non-communicable diseases and provide mental health support and sexual and reproductive health care services, with a focus on mother and child health in Madjal Anjar and Arsal. In 2019, MSF partnered with the Ministry of Public Health to implement part of its national mental health strategy by extending World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Program activities to our Hermel and Arsal clinics. The program, known as mhGAP, aims to guarantee access to treatment for mental health disorders to more people, with general practitioners supervised and supported by psychiatrists.
We also run a specialized pediatrics program in Zahle that includes emergency consultations, pediatric intensive care and treatment for thalassemia at Elias Hraoui governmental hospital. In Bar Elias, we provide care for severe wounds, with a focus on burns patients, and essential elective surgery for adults and children.
North Lebanon and Akkar
In Wadi Khaled, we offer general health care for vulnerable local communities, including mental health support, treatment for chronic non-communicable diseases, and pediatrics.
Our teams in Tripoli and Al-Abdeh continue to provide treatment for chronic noncommunicable diseases, family planning services and mental health care. As in Bekaa, we are partnering with the Ministry of Public Health to implement the WHO mhGAP program.
In 2019, we initiated new operational research to test the feasibility of using a fixed-dose combination medication for patients with cardiovascular disease, particularly those living in a refugee setting. Please donate to support our work in Lebanon and other countries around the world now.
Our services in South Beirut include sexual and reproductive health care, treatment for chronic non-communicable diseases and mental health consultations, in Shatila refugee camp and at our family clinic in Burj Barajneh camp. We also offer maternity services in our birth center in Rafik Hariri University hospital.
Our team in Ein Al-Hilweh, one of the most populated Palestinian refugee camps, operate a home-based care program for patients with chronic non-communicable diseases and support medical personnel in the camp with emergency response training to enable them to stabilize patients with violence-related injuries.