In recent years, aid organizations such as AmeriCares have played a key role in providing and strengthening primary care in Lebanon. By focusing on the vulnerability of some segments of the population and the increasing double disease burden, AmeriCares aid improves continuity of chronic disease management and kidney dialysis care while filling gaps in the medical care for persons living with HIV. Currently, we provide more than half of the medical commodities distributed by our partners.
Snapshot of Lebanon:
Lebanon was once the economic capitol of the Middle East, as well as the home to premier health care centers. However, since Lebanon gained its independence from France in 1943, the country has experienced extended periods of civil war and external conflicts with Israel and Syria, putting significant strain on the country’s infrastructure. Lebanon’s greatest challenges have been rebuilding civil institutions and instituting economic reforms. Furthermore, the country manages a sizeable refugee population, while struggling to rebuild its health care system.
Though Lebanon has some of the best hospitals in the region, striking disparities exist between health care centers in poor and affluent areas. The main source of financing for health services in Lebanon comes from households, which spend about 14.2% of their income on health services. In terms of expenditures, public sector providers accounted for less than 2%, private sector providers for more than 89%. Critical health Issues:
- tobacco control and other lifestyle choices
- health care access for growing refugee population
- chronic disease control
Since 1982 AmeriCares has delivered relief for people in Lebanon in response to disputes and refugee crises associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In 2000, we initiated a regular schedule of shipments of medicines and medical supplies to be facilitated and monitored by our partner, American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), and distributed by our partners YMCA and Health Care Society (HCS) to reach the underserved Lebanese and ever-growing refugee population. On average, AmeriCares delivers four 40-foot containers of medical commodity assistance per year, which provides through our local partners medical care for a population of approximately 500,000 people. The YMCA's medical programs focus on chronic disease management, distributing AmeriCares chronic medicines to more than 150,000 underserved Lebanese patients through a network of 456 non-governmental clinics around the country. Meanwhile, HCS distributes to over 65 health institutions that focus on providing care to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee population, including clinics, hospitals, and other facilities either within or on the outskirts of refugee camps.
In 2006, renewed violence in the Middle East led to the displacement of nearly one million Lebanese and placed massive strain on the health care system, which had been largely cut off from receiving medical supplies.
AmeriCares responded with an airlift to Beirut that carried essential medicines and relief supplies to abate the humanitarian situation in Lebanon. In addition, AmeriCares provided the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) with a cash grant for the purchase of infant and child care kits to help the youngest victims of this crisis. These donations addressed the health needs of many individuals returning to southern Lebanon.
AmeriCares also donates medical products to qualified U.S. health care professionals who are traveling to Lebanon to provide charitable medical care. Through this program, donated medicines and medical supplies reach impoverished and isolated communities where even basic medical care is inaccessible to the poor or often non-existent. AmeriCares donations cure infections, relieve pain, help patients manage chronic diseases and make life-changing surgeries possible.
Recent News from Lebanon
AmeriCares is mobilizing an airlift to Lebanon, that will arrive in Beirut tomorrow, bringing more than 15 tons of essential medicines and relief supplies to help ease the critical humanitarian situation. The airlift will leave from Amman, Jordan and is carrying medicines, medical and disaster relief supplies including antibiotics, analgesics, and other aid valued at $2 million. An AmeriCares emergency response team is accompanying the flight.