Ensuring Refugee Access to Critical Health Services in Lebanon
January 27, 2022 | Washington, DC — Anera is initiating a new program to provide critical healthcare services and medicine for Syrian, Iraqi, and other refugee groups and vulnerable host communities across Lebanon. In partnership with Americares and with funding from the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anera is launching its Critical Access for Refugees to Medicine and Health Services (CARMAH) project this month.
Pressure on public and private hospitals is now at an all-time high. COVID-19 cases are surging while healthcare facilities struggle to keep their lights and equipment running and to maintain adequate stocks of medicine. Lebanon’s severe economic crisis and lack of foreign currency has made it hard to import basic commodities, including medicine. Non-profit healthcare facilities and dispensaries are running out of essential medicines for chronic diseases.
Dima Zayat, Anera’s deputy country director in Lebanon, said,
“The unprecedented shortages of medicines right now is heartbreaking. So many people in Lebanon from all walks of life are desperately searching for medicines that simply aren’t available. That’s why CARMAH is so important and will mean so much to the patients it serves.”
Through the CARMAH project, Anera will leverage its medical aid program to facilitate shipments of critically needed medicines to vulnerable populations in Lebanon. This intervention will address shortages while preventing disruptions in the supply of key medicines.
The program will serve at least 10,000 Syrian, Iraqi, other refugee and vulnerable Lebanese patients across all eight governorates of Lebanon. Patients will receive monthly refills of a variety of prescribed medicines. The project will supply 200,000 monthly refills (about 6,000,000 defined daily doses), distributed over the course of the year.
Americares, a U.S.-based relief and development organization with over 30 years of experience delivering medical aid to Lebanon, will oversee medicine procurement, international shipping and logistics for the first year of the project.
Kate Dischino, the Americares vice president of emergency programs, said,
“Lebanon’s health system is struggling at a time when refugees and vulnerable host communities across the country are in dire need of access to quality medicines and health services. We are working with Anera to deliver life-saving antibiotics, chronic disease medications, medicines to treat mental health conditions and more.”
Lebanon currently hosts 1 to 1.5 million Syrian refugees. As a result of the recent crises in the country, the most vulnerable suffer from a lack of access to healthcare and chronic disease medicines. Anera will ensure that refugees and vulnerable host communities in Lebanon are able to treat their chronic conditions without gaps in care.
The program will bring improvements to the quality of life for individuals who are not provided assistance through other services. Anera chose CARMAH (كرامة, or ‘dignity‘ in Arabic) for the name of this project to reflect the overall goal of ‘dignity for all’ as its guiding principle.
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Since 1968, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.