Vital Feeding Bags for Patients Unable to Eat on Their Own
Imagine yourself unable to swallow food or even move the food through your digestive system while recovering in the hospital. It is a painful reality for many patients, such as comatose patients and others with severe burns, malabsorption disorders, bowel obstruction or gastrointestinal surgeries.
The answer is the total parenteral nutrition (TPN) bag. The bags contain a blend of different nutrients, like proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals, specifically designed to meet each patient's unique nutritional needs. The nutrients are injected directly into the bloodstream through a small tube or IV. TPN bags are a lifeline to help provide much-needed nutrients while the patient heals.
Lebanon’s economic crisis is making it more and more difficult to supply TPN bags because they are expensive and growing scarce. In its constant efforts to respond to Lebanon’s health needs, Anera has facilitated the distribution of a much-needed donation of more than 4,800 TPN bags for public hospitals across Lebanon. The donation was provided by Direct Relief who has supported the Lebanese healthcare sector for years and continues to do so in partnership with highly active organizations like Anera.
Baalbek Governmental Hospital is one of the major recipients of the TPN bags donation. Perhaps better known for the world-famous Baalbek International Festivals, Baalbek actually is a modest complex of villages and small towns that are quite distant from big cities and the capital Beirut. Such distant areas lack dependable healthcare support and resources.
Abbas Chokor directs the Baalbek Government Hospital. He stresses the importance of supplies like TPN bags: “Most of the population in our area live modest lives and cannot afford to pay much for medical services. Nowadays the price of one TPN bag starts at approximately four million Lebanese pounds. This donation is our rescue because neither the patient or the hospital can afford to buy them.”
"The price of one TPN bag starts at approximately four million Lebanese pounds. This donation is our rescue because neither the patient or the hospital can afford to buy them.”
Pulmonologist Abdelwahab Ismail is treating a comatose patient at Baalbek hospital. He says in many cases doctors search for more affordable medications when patients’ families cannot afford the recommended treatments. But he says it does not work all the time. “If we cannot provide TPN bags for patients who need it because it is unaffordable, we are in trouble. It’s a famine on an individual level.”
The support of Anera and partners like Direct Relief are critical in Lebanon, where affordable medical supplies are hard to obtain because of financial and institutional challenges. Donations of the TPN bags and other medicines can address the urgent need of patients who cannot afford proper healthcare and give them renewed hope of survival.