New Funding Expands Access to Medicines for Vulnerable in Lebanon
January 5, 2023 | Beirut, Lebanon — Anera has received funding from the United States to continue and expand its program to expand access to vital chronic medicines among vulnerable refugee and non-refugee populations in Lebanon. The Critical Access for Refugees to Medicine and Health Services (CARMAH) project is funded by the government of the United States Department of State through its Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The project also aims to raise public awareness and knowledge of chronic diseases.
The medical situation in Lebanon continues to rapidly deteriorate. With the ongoing economic crisis, many patients cannot keep up with the rising prices for medicines and hospital bills. Some 80% of the population is now living in poverty, a seismic worsening of living conditions for the country. Nonprofit healthcare providers in Lebanon have exhausted their medical supplies and need medical donations to continue serving vulnerable communities.
In September 2021, Anera responded to the developing crisis by establishing the CARMAH project (karama means “dignity” in Arabic), which serves refugees and vulnerable Lebanese patients. Today, Lebanese pharmacies are well-stocked with chronic disease medications. But because most medicines are no longer subsidized, drug prices are exorbitant and put the medicines out of reach for vulnerable Lebanese and refugee communities.
In its first year, the CARMAH project benefited more than 80,000 patients struggling with chronic illnesses. The team distributed more than 15 million defined daily doses and more than 80 different types of chronic medications.
Mohammad Kawtharani, head of Tofahta Medical Center, one of CARMAH’s 39 recipients last year, said
“After the basic chronic medicines were cut off and their prices were high, the CARMAH project was a glimmer of hope and a relieving solution for many Lebanese patients and residents of different nationalities.”
After the successful implementation of CARMAH in 2021–2022, Anera signed the agreement for CARMAH II and officially kicked off the project on September 1.
Mohammed Eter, Anera’s manager for the CARMAH project, said,
“Seeing people who are in desperate need of life-saving medications but unable to pay for them is a national tragedy. We appreciate the BPRM’s support and are honored to have helped thousands of people by tackling this health catastrophe through the CARMAH project.”
In CARMAH’s second year, Anera plans to support more than 50 additional healthcare centers across Lebanon, ultimately benefiting at least 20,000 new patients from vulnerable refugee and Lebanese communities. The project is projected to distribute approximately 25 million defined daily doses of various chronic illness treatments in its second year.
MOHAMMED ETER IS AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF INTERVIEWS
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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.