An Important Antibiotic for Poor Communities in Lebanon
Ahmed was a patient of the Rashidieh Health Centre located in South Lebanon suffering from a case of acute tonsillitis. “His throat had completely swollen shut and the infection was spreading in his body. No tablets could pass through his throat and his airway was in danger of being obstructed. The Ceftriaxone injections allowed for treatment that would have otherwise been unavailable,” described UNRWA medical practitioner, Dr. Qasim Saleh.
Ceftriaxone, a strong antibiotic, is considered to be a power drug and is often recommended by pharmacists for serious infections such as Ahmed’s. “We prescribe Ceftriaxone when we know that the others in stock will not work. It is reliable and almost always kills the infection, but we have to pay careful attention to how much we have in stock,” Dr. Saleh explained. “If we run out, then we may not have it for patients who need it.”
Hundreds of thousands will now have access to this much-needed antibiotic.
More than 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in the camps of Lebanon suffer daily hardships related to health care and the availability of medications. Medication stocks are often depleted, and as a result, patients are given alternative treatments that may lead to complications or prolonged treatment. “The medications are needed by our patients and when they run out, we have to write to UNRWA for more. If UNRWA is unable to obtain the medications, then our patients are left without the correct treatment,” said pharmacist Imad Hassan of the Rashidieh Health Centre. “It is difficult to watch our patients suffer and know that a medication exists, but is currently out of stock. Our patients have nowhere else to go to obtain these medicines.”
ANERA distributes donated pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies that serve all 12 of Lebanon’s official refugee camps in addition to unofficial gatherings. An estimated 110,000 Palestinians and 165,000 underprivileged Lebanese are recipients of these donations. In early 2010, UNRWA submitted a request to ANERA for medications in short supply, including Ceftriaxone injections. ANERA then sent the request to Medical Teams International (MTI), who reacted quickly. A large shipment of the requested medications, donated thanks to the generosity of Hospira, Inc., was sent out shortly thereafter, and on March 23, 2010, the antibiotic and diuretic medicines arrived at the UNRWA Lebanon Field Office in Beirut. Ecstatic to receive such a large shipment in such a short amount of time, UNRWA then distributed the medications to various health clinics throughout the country.
Large donations such as these are instrumental in helping organizations like UNRWA keep its pharmacies well-stocked with the medications needed for proper treatments. The continuation of such donations will ensure that the medications will be available to the hundreds of patients depending on them