Strengthening Healthcare at the Community Level
Fadela is a 52-year-old cancer patient in Lebanon and has been undergoing treatment for the past four months. Thanks to the Anera community, she is able to obtain the vital cancer medicines she needs for ongoing treatment.
Breast cancer is common, affecting hundreds of millions of people around the world. One in every eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. For women living in conflict zones like the West Bank and Gaza, breast cancer can be particularly scary.
In Palestine, the mortality rate for breast cancer patients is unusually high, at around 40%. Many of these deaths are preventable with access to the right treatment. Improving early detection by ensuring that women are aware of what to look for and have access to proper routine screenings would save many lives. Eliminating the barriers patients confront in obtaining proper treatment would save many more.
Sandra Rasheed, Anera’s country director for Palestine, recently wrote an article for Anera’s blog about her own very personal experience with the challenges facing breast cancer patients living under occupation. She says that her close acquaintance with breast cancer has made her “even more passionate about helping to improve access to healthcare and to support those who are working to make a difference in the lives of women in Palestine.”
Anera is determined to address the barriers to access to early detection and treatment of breast cancer and other diseases. To this end, last year we started a program to address this issue and to support the only oncology treatment center for adults in Gaza, at the Turkish Palestinian Friendship Hospital.
Patients face many obstacles in accessing healthcare in the West Bank and Gaza. Medical equipment is scarce or outdated, and there are very few specialized oncology units in the area. Palestinian hospitals are often over capacity, overwhelmed with patients facing long wait times that tax the limits of staff and resources. And as Sandra recounts, simply getting to a hospital can mean navigating the unpredictable, such as sudden road closures and violence.
The circumstances differ, but in Lebanon and Jordan too, refugees and other vulnerable populations face their own serious challenges to accessing adequate healthcare. Across the region, Anera is looking to build upon our existing programs to broaden our impact in public health.
Medical Donations Plus (MD+)
Anera’s largest program is medical donations – providing over $207 million in assistance to Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan in the past two years alone. We have deep networks and extensive contacts throughout the countries where we work. In Anera's 2022-2025 strategic plan, one of our five priorities is to take advantage of these connections, and our many years of experience with health programming, to expand our work in health and nutrition. This is an initiative we're calling MD+.
Through MD+, we are exploring how best to bolster healthcare systems in the countries where we work. Anera is building the capacity of community health workers and ensuring that isolated villages – often among the most vulnerable communities – have access to services that they may not have due to their remote locations. Simple measures like facilitating transportation for patients and sending mobile health clinics on regular visits to remote areas can have a big impact on health and wellbeing. We’ll work to deliver equipment to allow for more services at local clinics, so that medical personnel can provide reliable, long-term support for common conditions, such as breast cancer, diabetes and mental health.
Anera’s MD+ programs aim to adopt a more holistic approach to community health. Our activities will integrate with other programs like water and sanitation, food security and education to support interventions that contribute to a robust and sustainable healthcare system. Our goal is to fortify healthcare in local communities. Families should feel connected, not isolated, with ready access to the kinds of routine medical procedures, treatments and advice that can save many lives.
"My experience has taught me that cancer knows no borders or boundaries," writes Sandra. "It can affect anyone, anywhere, and we have to join arms to do what we can to fight it."
By The Numbers
Medical Donations in Fiscal Year 2023
Your Impact from Anera's Medical Donations Program
Thanks to supporters from all over the world, Anera is able to distribute millions of dollars' worth of vital medicines, equipment, wheelchairs, over-the-counter drugs and health care supplies that would not otherwise be available in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan.
Here are just some of the people and places benefitting from your generous support.