Press Release

Health Activists Gather to Launch Rational Use of Medicine Campaign

March 24, 2011 | Beirut, Lebanon – With support from American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) in Lebanon, and co-funding from UNRWA, around 120 health workers and activists from grassroots organizations, gathered at Galleria Hotel, in Beirut, to launch the Zaka wa Dawa or Smart Use of Medicine campaign. In addition to enhancing their skills, the educational and celebratory meeting aimed at planning common community health actions to address the misuse of medicine and sharing experiences among the groups. In a festive ambiance, the program included an exhibit, a workshop and presentations; and ended with a lunch and distribution of certificates to participants.

Anera and partners have recently produced Zaka wa Dawa educational materials promoting the proper use of medications. Endorsed by 24 groups, local and international organizations, and more than 160 activists, the materials list best practices in several health priority topics, and encourage the importance of changing people’s behavior towards medications through doable actions that protect their health, save on spending and foster self reliance (

The campaign has emerged as a result of worsening impairments related to the misuse of medications in the country, especially in the marginalized and impoverished Lebanese and Palestinian communities where Anera is active. “We are all responsible when it comes to dispensing and using medicines”, said Dr. May Haddad Community Health Consultant at Anera, “the responsibility includes protecting ourselves, people around us and the environment.”

“Medicine is not baklava” and “Say no to friends who offer you medicines” are two of the many health messages promoted by the Zaka wa Dawa campaign. More community actions integrating the principle of “maximizing benefits and minimizing harm” when dealing with medications, are planned for the year to come.

For more information please contact Martine Btaich at Anera 01-750 603 or 03-973 476 or [email protected]