Anera Distributes More Than One Million Masks to Lebanon’s Health Clinics and Schools
It’s never a good time for a pandemic to hit, but COVID-19 struck Lebanon at the worst possible time. The currency crisis had already begun, severely impacting the country’s public services.
At-risk communities have suffered more devastating conditions since then, especially after the 2020 Beirut port explosion destroyed the infrastructure of entire neighborhoods in Beirut.
The healthcare system has been unable to absorb all the shocks and recover enough to provide decent services. Supporting Lebanon’s impaired health sector has been a priority for Anera and its donors. Providing masks to protect families from the spread of infectious diseases is part of Anera’s medical aid program.
“With all the crises we have suffered in Lebanon, projects funded by foreign associations and aid they have provided have been the greatest benefit for our ability to continue supporting our communities,” explains Alaa' Abu Jamous, administrative assistant at Mouwasat Association, an Anera partner organization in Lebanon.
“We can’t underestimate the importance of the mask in the workplace to protect those present from diseases like COVID and others.”
Thanks to a generous donation by Distribute Aid, a charity organization that delivers humanitarian aid to vulnerable societies, Anera has distributed a shipment of masks and personal protective equipment materials across the country.
“With all the crises we have suffered in Lebanon, projects funded by foreign associations and aid they have provided have been the greatest benefit for our ability to continue supporting our communities”
“We received about one and a half million reusable masks from Distribute Aid,” reports Ali Bahsoun, who coordinates logistics for Anera’s medical aid department. “This limits the environmental damage caused by single-use masks and also reduces the financial burden on people too.”
Distribute Aid works with grassroots organizations to ensure that no community is left behind. The donation has reached local residents of at-risk communities. With Anera’s assessment of these communities’ critical needs, Distribute Aid could respond to the shortage and Anera could distribute masks to organizations and clinics across Lebanon.
Sister Mona Saad administers the pharmacy at Psychiatric Hospital of the Cross (Deir el-Salib) in Bsalim.
“We still heavily use masks at the hospital, especially in the medical and nursing departments. We are so grateful for the masks we received and they will be distributed to patients in long-term care, as well as to our staff members.”
She says the donation is also welcome, given the high cost of health equipment and shortages in the Lebanese market for items like masks and PPE. “The mask donation is of great importance, especially in these difficult circumstances that we are passing through.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is still a concern for many, especially in light of rising cases around the globe. Although many governmental restrictions have been lifted, masks are needed to protect against the spread of the virus, especially in indoor locations and at hospitals. Not wearing a mask in medical spaces can be detrimental to staff and patients alike.
Abu Jamous explains that masks are still very much in need: “Although the Lebanese state has reduced COVID regulations, we in the association are still convinced of the need to wear a mask and maintain distance to protect ourselves and others.”
The masks were distributed to more than 90 Anera partners, including primary healthcare centers, dispensaries and associations that organize educational courses, in addition to many centers that in turn distributed them to beneficiaries.
Anera also distributed the donated masks to schools and associations. Ali says, “The masks were distributed to students at three schools as part of our aid basket and we took advantage of the distribution program to hold health awareness sessions too.”
The fragility of the Lebanese state has threatened the sustainability of the healthcare system. Medical supplies and medications have soared in price and often are not even available in the local market. Humanitarian organizations like Anera and its donors are essential to supporting Lebanon’s health sector and protecting the well-being of at-risk communities.