Vital medical aid supports health providers in Lebanon
Thanks to a large medical donation by Direct Relief, Anera recently facilitated the distribution of medical supplies and medications that are critical for the survival and continuous treatment of chronic disease and cancer patients.
The ever-expanding political, social and financial crises in Lebanon have obstructed public health programs and caused many services to end. Many patients have had to stop their medical treatments and try new ones because of an inability to purchase or find some medications and supplies.
Anera has distributed the valuable aid according to our needs-based assessment, principally to the Chronic Care Center and the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). Most of the patients receiving support are infants and children, along with some adults.
Michelle Abi Saad, administrative director at the Chronic Care Center, says,
“Our NGO is a multi-disciplinary and internationally-certified center specializing in the treatment of diabetic patients. We also treat hundreds of others requiring specialized care, like thalassaemia major patients. We have helped many recuperate and lead productive lives, which is a long way from where we started in the 1990s in Lebanon.”
The shipment from Direct Relief consisted of medications for diabetes and hypertension, as well as insulin pen tips. Pascale Maalouf Naoufa, a diabetes educator at the Chronic Care Center, says,
“The high consumption of syringes for insulin patients can create real financial burdens given the rising prices in the country, and this is only one of many costs they face in treating their diabetes. [This aid] has been a relief for patients.“
The donated shipment also includes cancer medications like bleomycin, a number of medications that encourage the growth of lungs in premature babies, and doses of tetanus antibodies.
Celine Abu Karam, an administrator at the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute at AUBMC, says that,
“Like all institutes in Lebanon, we struggle to find many cancer medications on the market, So Anera has filled in an urgent gap. It has helped continue all cancer treatments on time and according to patients’ needs. I genuinely thank Anera for their donations, facilitating the treatment of patients unable to fully support themselves financially.
Twenty-five-year-old Ali is a cancer patient at the Basile Cancer Institute at AUBMC. He says,
“We have all been suffering from soaring prices. What was worth 100,000 Lebanese lira is now worth over 1 million LL.
"I’m trying hard to manage my treatment. Keeping up my spirits is so important. Thank you so much for the donation. God bless you all.”
The shipment also provided basic medical supplies, such as syringes, that help mitigate the grim financial outlook of many medical centers in Lebanon.
Abi Saad says,
"We are transparent about all the donations we receive from Anera and others. We dispense all of them for free. Anything we receive from Anera means a lot to our center, as we use any savings to improve our care and help more patients.”
Given the economic crisis, organizations have had to cut back on costs in order to maintain basic services, but with increasing aid they are able to offer substantial assistance and resources.
With the burdens of the Beirut blast as well as the pandemic, medical centers have also had to discontinue integral programs deemed less critical, such as mental health or recreational workshops. Donations like this one from Direct Relief provide some financial relief that lets centers continue their programs.
“Patients need high levels of awareness on diabetes management, in terms of self-care, daily habits, food and fitness, and insulin treatment. Our center provides these services through specialized programs and staff.”
Milan, 14, is a diabetes patient at the Chronic Care Center. He says,
“I’ve learned so much about diabetes and self-care since I was diagnosed and have adapted to the new lifestyle, thanks to the support at the center. Diabetes hasn’t destroyed my life, I still play football daily and aim to become an engineer.”
Our other local partner recipients include the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, the Lebanese American University Hospital, the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Psychiatric Hospital of the Cross, the Ajialouna Association, the Farah Social Foundation, and the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects.