Distributing Medicines in Lebanon Amid a Healthcare Crisis

February 6, 2024

Lebanon, a once-thriving country in the Middle East, is facing a myriad of intersecting challenges, including economic collapse, political instability, and the aftermath of the 2020 Beirut explosion – all of which have converged to create a dire situation for its citizens’ access to essential medications.

An estimated 3.7 million Lebanese have been affected and are in need of immediate humanitarian healthcare assistance due to the medication shortage.

Strain in the Healthcare System

The healthcare system itself has been strained beyond its limits. Hospitals and medical facilities have faced financial collapse, resulting in staff layoffs. Approximately 3,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses have left Lebanon since the country fell into an economic crisis in 2019. This depleted the workforce, leaving healthcare systems stretched to their limits. The consequence is reduced essential services as hospitals wrestle to maintain the quality of care they once provided.

Patients, in turn, face delays in treatment, reduced access to specialized care, shortage of needed medicines, and an overall decline in the quality of healthcare services.

The political instability in Lebanon has hindered the government's ability to address the medicine shortage effectively.

As a result, many Lebanese citizens and refugees are now forced to make difficult choices between buying essential medications and/or meeting their other basic needs. Vulnerable citizens, such as those with chronic illnesses or life-threatening conditions, are at the greatest risk.

Urgent international support is needed to mitigate this healthcare concern and restore hope to the people of Lebanon.

Medicine Distribution in Lebanon

In the face of Lebanon's harrowing healthcare crisis, International Relief Teams was able to distribute medicines to several affected areas, reaching families and children in need

From the streets of Beirut to the landscapes of Mount Lebanon, the impact of the medical donation initiative can be felt across multiple regions. The distribution efforts have extended to key areas, including Beqaa-Zahle, Nabatieh, Tyre, and Chouf, ensuring that aid reaches the heart of communities grappling with severe healthcare needs.

Mariam, an 81-year-old Lebanese woman who struggles to pay for medication as she has only a $50 monthly allowance which she uses for essential expenses such as food and bills. She suffered from abnormally high blood pressure, and acute anemia, which posed severe health risks, including the potential for a stroke, heart attack, or other fatal complications.

Recognizing the urgency, the doctor promptly administered medication to address Mariam's  health crisis. The doctor prescribed the medicines she needed, and within ten days, Mariam's condition significantly improved.

Appreciative of the free monitoring, examinations, and treatment, Mariam expressed her happiness, noting the warm and caring atmosphere at the clinic. 

In her own words, "I love everyone at this clinic, they are like my very own children.”

International Relief Teams recognizes the diverse channels through which healthcare is delivered and we’ve been able to distribute medicines through 15 partners, including hospitals, dispensaries, churches, and clinics. These entities serve more than 750,000 citizens and refugees who live in the same areas.

However, this journey for Lebanese people is far from over. Together, we can continue to address the pressing healthcare needs and medicine shortages in Lebanon.

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