An alarming number of doctors and nurses have left Lebanon as a result of the current circumstances, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom said on Sunday.
In a joint statement with WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Ahmad Al-Mandhari, Adhanom said that almost 40% of skilled medical doctors and nearly 30% of registered nurses had left Lebanon either permanently or temporarily.
Lebanon has been witnessing a huge mass migration wave since the start of its economic crisis in 2019.
The brain drain has exacerbated the dangerous public health crisis, caused by a nationwide shortage of fuel, medicine, and medical supplies.
For context, General Security Chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim recently revealed that between 7,000 and 8,000 people were submitting passport applications every day.
Adhanom and Al-Mandhari, who concluded a two-day visit to Beirut on Sunday, highlighted the impact of the economic crisis on Lebanon’s various industries, with emphasis on the crumbling health sector.
“Fuel shortages are causing most hospitals to operate at only 50% capacity. Just today, we were told that two open heart surgeries were cancelled because of limited fuel at the facility where they were planned to take place,” they stated.
“Basic and life-saving medicines are in short supply, with restrictions in foreign currency severely limiting importation of medicines and medical goods.”
The WHO officials also stressed their organization’s continued support for and solidarity with Lebanon, affirming its commitment to continuing immediate assistance as well as long-term health strategies for the country.