Hospitals are relying on medical aid to get vital medicines and healthcare supplies to keep running. In the current circumstances, to still be working as a healthcare provider in Lebanon is to sacrifice for the sake of others. 

 

Pharmacists, nurses, doctors and technicians are now working and living in nearly impossible conditions. They spend off hours in long lines waiting to get fuel or fitting in chores during the scarce and unpredictable hours of electricity. At their workplaces, staff resignations and medical supply shortages have become the norm. People on the frontlines who are still serving their patients are nothing less than heroes. 

Patients and visitors normally pass through hospitals and clinics without having to think about stocks of medications and medical supplies and the maintenance of medical equipment. In Lebanon, though, today these basic routines essential to a functioning facility can no longer be taken for granted. Amid the pandemic and the wider collapse of services in Lebanon, hospitals are running out of everyday items like syringes. These are mundane but critical supplies. International Health Partners recently supported its in-country partner, Anera, with a shipment of 37 pallets containing over four tons of high quality syringes. 

These easy-to-use syringes are crucial for the safety of healthcare workers, as their design protects them against needle stick injuries and exposure to bloodborne pathogens when on duty — and of course, they are needed to administer vaccines. 

Anera’s team distributed the syringes to 31 healthcare institutions across the country. Among them is the Dahr El Bachek Governmental University Hospital in the Roumieh area of Mount Lebanon. Like many hospitals, Dahr El Bachek is struggling to keep its doors open and its operations running. 

“With the collapse of the lira and the acute shortage of medicines and medical supplies, as well as the suspension of production in most local medical factories, people in Lebanon now prefer death over hospitalization. Really, it’s true,” says Mohamed Kassab, the head nurse in the intensive care unit at Dahr El Bachek. 

Mohamed Kassab, the head nurse in the intensive care unit at Dahr El Bachek.

 

Several hospitals have had to close their doors or shutter some of their departments. Many that were functioning as vaccination centres can no longer do so due to the lack of medical supplies like syringes, PPE and COVID testing kits. 

"We’re struggling to purchase medications, syringes and PPE due to the severe disparity in the exchange rate between the lira and the dollar,” says Dr. Roger Hamoush, the general director of Dahr El Bachek Hospital. “And now with the surge in the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, we expect more patients to be admitted to the hospital. We need the continuous support of organisations like IHP and Anera to protect our health care workers and save the lives of our patients." 

 

 

"We need the continuous support of organisations like IHP and Anera to protect our health care workers and save the lives of our patients." 

 

“The shortage in basic medical supplies is unprecedented,” says Dima Zayat, Anera’s deputy country director in Lebanon and a registered nurse. “We have reached a point where a regular syringe can literally save a life!” 

Another recipient of IHP’s syringes is the Nabatieh Governmental Hospital, in the south of Lebanon. When we spoke to its director, Dr. Hasan Wazni, he explained the importance of this medical donation and how his staff is using the syringes mostly in the ICU and for chemotherapy. 

“These high quality syringes are necessary for our patients' care and very hard to find in our local markets, especially in this economic crisis,” says Wazni. 

"Without support from IHP providing donated medical aid, many hospitals will no longer be able to serve those in need of medical care."

 

 

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