Lebanon Faces A Stifling Crisis In Its Medical & Pharmaceutical Sectors

AUBMC/The Arab Weekly

In a meeting between the Parliamentary Health Committee and PM Najib Mikati, the chairman of the committee MP Assem Araji stated that the data they have received from international organizations indicate that 70% of the Lebanese people cannot buy their medicine.

The Ministry of Public Health recently lifted medicine subsidies, leaving residents facing a large increase in the pricing of some medications and shortages of others.

“The medical sector suffers both in terms of high hospital costs that the patient cannot pay, and hospitals that cannot keep pace with the frightening rise of the dollar, so we have to buy generic medicines because they reduce our expenses, in addition to supporting the national drug industry, which is one of the available solutions,” Araji stated.

He added that the medical sector is not equipped enough to face a new battle with the pandemic, noting that various Coronavirus departments have shut down due to financial conditions.

“In the past, and early this year, we had much more possibilities, unlike today,” he noted.

Lebanon is suffering from a scarcity of medical supplies and drugs. That’s in addition to a potential collapse of the medical sector, according to WHO, and a shortage of practitioners.

The crises have forced many Lebanese doctors and nurses to leave the country.

Lebanon’s medical sector used to count 15,000 specialized doctors serving it, until recently when 2,500 of them left the country due to the severity of the economic crisis.

That has caused Lebanon to lose about 20% of the specialized medical body, according to the head of the Lebanese Doctors Syndicate, Dr. Sharaf Abu Sharaf, to Al-Hurra

Dr. Abu Sharaf shared his concerns during that interview that if the rising emigration of Lebanese doctors continues, the medical sector might not be able “to find the necessary alternatives for diagnosis and treatment.”

Dr. Abu Sharaf maintains his hope that Lebanon’s doctors who left to work in the Arab Gulf might eventually return, but not those who emigrated to Europe, Canada, Australia, and the US. These are the majority of the specialists who left.

Back in September, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that about 40% of qualified medical professionals and 30% of nurse practitioners had already left Lebanon, either permanently or temporarily.

The international organization added that Lebanon’s health sector is collapsing, similar to the other sectors.

According to the World Bank, Lebanon’s crisis is “the harshest and most severe in the world,” and it is one of the three most difficult crises recorded in history since the mid-nineteenth century.

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