The shortage of medical supplies in Lebanon is threatening the capacity of hospitals to continue offering dialysis past the coming few days.
The Syndicate of Hospitals in Lebanon said in a statement on Thursday that hospitals across the country are suffering from “a severe shortage” of reagents and the necessary supplies to conduct laboratory tests and diagnose diseases.
This has forced many hospitals to stop conducting these tests for patients they receive, as well as to reduce the overall number of admissions, the statement said.
“Also, hospitals are suffering from a severe shortage of dialysis supplies, which threatens to stop this service as of next week if the supplies are not delivered to hospitals within the current week.”
The reason behind these shortages is the ongoing dispute between the importers of medical supplies and the Central Bank of Lebanon over the subsidy of these items (85% at the official exchange rate of 1,515 LBP/USD).
The Hospitals Syndicate announced that in case the subsidy over medical supplies was lifted, importers would sell them to hospitals at the parallel exchange rate.
“This means that the tariff for these services will increase many times over and the beneficiary patient will have to bear the differences in those prices, which will threaten the health security of citizens, as not everyone can incur these additional expenses,” it warned.
The Syndicate called upon concerned officials to take action in this regard, pledging to exert every possible effort to ensure that the costs of these services remain at the lowest possible value.
Lebanese hospitals have been suffering through periodic episodes of severe shortages in medical supplies since the start of the economic crisis in Lebanon.
This shortage recently sparked a heated argument between a doctor and a patient who was due for weight-reduction surgery, in an incident that was caught on video.