Donated chemotherapy medications enable hospitals in Lebanon to continue to provide treatment for cancer patients
As humanitarians, we cannot find a cure for cancer, but we can definitely be a part of delivering treatments that help cancer patients feel better and lead healthier lives.
Anera’s medical donations department is growing in response to Lebanon's plight, an economic crisis coupled with a pandemic that has resulted in a debilitated public health sector.
Direct Relief and Anera have been working closely to ensure the delivery of life-saving and humanitarian medication to where it is needed most. Direct Relief recently sent two shipments that our teams delivered to the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC).
The shipments consist of 2,124 vials of cisplatin and 225 vials of epirubicin. These drugs are used to treat multiple types of types of cancer: epirubicin is for adults, while cisplatin can be used to treat children. Epirubicin requires cold-chain shipping because it must be kept at a consistent refrigeration temperature. Anera and Direct Relief have partnered to deliver medicines requiring cold-chain shipping at no charge to those most in need. Anera transported and delivered the drug safely to healthcare facilities while keeping it at a constant 2-8 degrees Celsius.
Olfat Muhammad Al-Osta is the director of pharmacy at AUBMC. She has been a pharmacist for 40 years. AUBMC, one of the key facilities providing COVID-19 vaccines in Lebanon, is a state-of-the-art institute that runs multiple philanthropic programs in partnership with local charities. It is an advanced facility with storage units and refrigerators for storing medicines that are monitored by software to ensure that the proper temperatures are consistently maintained despite the frequent need to shift to generators when the electricity grid fails in Beirut.
“We rely on the support of organizations such as Direct Relief and Anera.”
Chemotherapy treatments like this must be diluted in an isolation hood to prevent the patient from inhaling toxic particles. “We have a space dedicated to preparing treatments in order to keep the medicine sterile and free from any bacterial contaminants, with careful attention to hand hygiene,” Al-Osta says.
Like many hospitals, AUBMC is confronting multiple challenges, such as an increased rate of staff absences resulting from employees contracting the coronavirus.
“We have a shortage of medicines for cancer patients, as well as those infected with coronavirus,” Al-Osta says. “We constantly need to secure alternative resources to acquire these expensive drugs, and we rely on the support of organizations such as Direct Relief and Anera who are providing them as a donation.”
Thuraya, 27, is a bright and resilient young woman fighting breast cancer. She receives chemotherapy treatments at AUBMC, and she has been receiving her dose of cisplatin donated by Direct Relief.
“I have breast cancer and have been receiving chemotherapy in the hospital for 45 days. I come in once every two weeks.
"I thank God because my condition has stabilized and I am now feeling better. I am a mother so have to be able to take care of my children. Everyday I go for a walk for an hour and a half."
"I have a supportive and loving family who provide me with the psychological support I need to go on and win this."
“We thank Anera for its support during these difficult times especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. We hope that Anera and its partners will continue to support us on a long term basis.”
Anera’s medical donations team in Lebanon will continue to assess the needs of the Lebanese health sector and address as many gaps possible with the support of generous donors like direct relief.