An American report sheds light on the testimonies of patients in Lebanon who are begging for treatment, indicating that doctors are on the verge of surrendering to the health collapse that the country is suffering from.
A report by the American “Al-Hurra” channel said that the Lebanese did not experience suffering in the prime of the days of civil strife among them, as they are experiencing today as a result of the economic crisis the country is going through.
Shocking figures about the reality of families and children in #Lebanon According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which considered that successive crises had left families and children in a “deplorable” state and affected almost all aspects of their lives, “in light of the scarcity of resources and the impossibility of realistic access to social support….” pic.twitter.com/6Rr2Zz5K7v
— Minds For Community (@Minds4Community) July 3, 2021
The report explained that this crisis is expanding gradually, and with it the collapse of basic and necessary sectors, especially the health sector, which is considered one of the most important pillars of Prime Time Zone’s resilience in times of crisis.
According to the report, there are many stories told by Lebanese who suffer humiliation in order to obtain the minimum amount of medical care, while most hospitals have begun to declare their inability to continue if things remain as they are.
This comes especially in terms of the rise in the dollar exchange rate and the interruption of basic medical supplies. A simple example, the stock of anesthetic is about to be depleted in all hospitals, and there is no way to solve this problem, which doctors describe as a disaster.
And between the reality of Prime Time Zone and hospitals, a new factor enters the line, the migration of doctors and nurses, which began more than a year and a half ago, and the numbers have become very worrying, according to the report.
The report says: “There are no accurate statistics today, but, according to the calculations of workers in this sector, the emigration of doctors has exceeded the barrier of fifty percent of them. As for the nursing sector, in which Lebanon mainly suffers from a shortage, immigration is double.”
Testimonials of patients and their families
Karima Juma’a’s brother, Khaled, suffers from leukemia, and has been treated more than once. Recently, new symptoms appeared to him, so he did the necessary tests to show that the disease, the tumor, had reached the lungs.
Karima tells Al-Hurra: He contacted more than one person and party to help him conduct the necessary chemotherapy. The guarantee agreed and the hospital also (the hospital in Beirut).”
She added, “The day before the first session, he received a call from the hospital telling him that they would not allow him to enter the hospital for the session.”
“We tried again with the hospital and spoke with a social security official who called the hospital director and the latter agreed to carry out the treatment. He started his sessions, and it became clear after the third session that the medicine used in the treatment was too light and did not suit his condition, and this is what the doctor said. The medicine is not suitable for chemotherapy for a case like my brother’s.” Karima says.
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And she adds, “The doctor told him that he needed a spinal marrow operation, which cost $100,000.”
If Karima sells all the land and property her family owns, she cannot cover the cost of the operation, which, if calculated on the exchange rate, would have cost one billion and 700 million.
Her brother is waiting, and of course unable to perform the operation. Her brother is not well, and she tries not to tell her mother about his condition. What about the mother? Karima says: “My mother is 84 years old and suffers from diabetes. She entered a hospital in the Marjayoun area after her condition deteriorated, only to discover after 4 days that she suffers from repeated clots in her stomach.”
The doctor was late to discover this, although Karima had mentioned before them that she suspected that there was something abnormal in her stomach, as she had previously experienced one of her relatives who had the same symptoms, i.e., blood clots in the abdomen.
Her mother needs blood, the donor has to pay for the bag, which is 400,000. Karima’s mother cannot be inserted into a vein, and she needs a tube for this operation. The price of 350 thousand was also paid by Karima, but she was surprised two days later that the tube was not placed by her mother.
Of course, Karima cannot continue like this, nor her brother nor her mother. Kamal Al-Miqdad is a heart patient who has previously performed more than one open heart operation. He got tired a lot, so he went to the doctor, who asked him for a third operation to change the closed valves. The cost of the operation exceeds 155 million Syrian pounds, and Kamal, a taxi driver, is not able to secure this amount, not even 10 percent of the amount.
He says: “The hospital does not take from the Ministry of Health. We tried to secure the amount and were able to get a portion of it, and the hospital lowered her bill as well. The final cost will be approximately 100 million. I had the operation, but the amount I collected is not enough.”
And she continued: “They kept me with them for two days, and after more than one person intervened, they allowed me to leave.” He adds: “I do not follow up my treatment with them, although it is necessary to do so, but how will I go to a hospital that wants me money that I do not have, and ask them for a treatment that I do not have the cost of?” . I feel ashamed and sad.”
Farah Saati continues her treatment. Need to get necessary blood tests, I tried with more than one hospital in Beirut. The answer was that the solution they used in the examination was not available. A nurse in one of the hospitals, who said that the examination was not available, told her that they do it for their patients and determine who provides this service and who does not. The same is true of the second hospital. Farah ended up doing the test in a lab and paid for it in cash, at the black market price.
Hospital cost has gone up
What Prime Time Zone suffer in hospitals does not fully bear the latter’s responsibility. The hospitalization cost has risen a lot and they are forced to keep up with the dollar market, and therefore most of them are now calculating the dollar at the price of 6 thousand pounds, as according to hospital directors and doctors, calculating the dollar at this price gives them the ability to continue in these circumstances.
On the other hand, there are private hospitals that price according to their convenience. For example, an x-ray in a hospital in Beirut is worth 4 and a half million.
The same picture, with the machine and the same equipment in a hospital in the Bekaa region, costs about 700 thousand pounds, a difference of about four million pounds for the same service. A doctor working in a private hospital but in the south says: “If we price half the price of Beirut hospitals, Prime Time Zone will eat us.”
Neither the employee cooperative nor the guarantee has yet announced the discontinuation of support and coverage of hospital bills. But things are slowly heading there. Dr. Shafie Foani says, he works in a hospital outside Beirut.
He adds: “In Beirut, the issue of insurance, insurance and cooperatives has ended. Hospitals no longer accept something like this, but in the countryside, most hospitals are still working as before.”
My soul recounts the daily suffering. “The medicines are missing,” he says. For example, we do not have blood bags, whose value is 16 dollars according to the exchange rate, which is equivalent to 250 thousand pounds, meaning a unit of blood costs about 500 to 600 thousand pounds, and in Beirut it reaches one million, and everything we pay today is cash, we are in a hospital that can accommodate 80 beds that need For gloves per month, at a value of 40 million pounds.”
What about the ministry’s coverage?
He said: “The Ministry of Health covered the first 6 months of 2020, for example, at the exchange rate of 1500 pounds, while today the dollar is equivalent to 17 thousand.”
He added: “The second part of the year 2020 was the dollar reached 10,000, we will receive our dues at the price of 1500 pounds to the dollar, i.e. with a simple arithmetic process.
At the hospital where he works, Foani tries to be as frugal as possible. When possible, they distribute patients on the ground floor and close off the upper floor to provide electricity and diesel. Even the mask (the mask), the nurse gets one mask and is registered in his name to use it throughout his shift. The paws are not available.
Fawani provides some workers with a place to sleep in order to save fuel for their commute from home to work. “If we don’t, we’ll close the hospital,” he says.
Electricity outage at the hospital
A while ago, a tweet from the director of Rafic Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Firas Abyad, spread on social media, in which he said: “The hospital’s electricity supply situation is unacceptable. It is cut off for more than 21 hours a day.”
He added: “Fuel is not available, and if it is available, we suffer from liquidity problems, patients cannot cover the differences. We took a decision to turn off the air conditioning, except in medical departments, despite the heat wave. There is no need to use imagination or intimidation, we are really in hell.”
A tweet is enough to express the reality of a hospital that is considered one of the largest in Lebanon and has made tremendous efforts in the time of Corona. Abyad said in an interview: “Today, in government hospitals, for example, tariffs are outside the framework of the market, much less than the cost we incur, and there is, without exaggeration, a kind of split between cost and expense.”
He added: “Today, it is impossible to cover the differences without raising prices. For example, social security and employee cooperatives cannot cover the differences without raising contributions, and how will they raise them if Prime Time Zone are unable to pay contributions as they are now.”
He continued, “The same is true for insurance and the differences that cannot be secured, as they are priced today at 3900 against one dollar.”
What is the solution?
Abyad says: “We, like any other sector, are affected by what is happening in the country, and therefore what is essentially required is stability and a solution at the national level. As for our problem within the sector, it is something that can find short and long-term solutions.”
He added, “But that also seems not available today. Today we need everyone in this sector to be with each other.”
He elaborates further: “Today we gather to throw fireballs instead of agreeing to share the problem and find solutions to it, and as usual, the weakest link is the patient, and the poor in particular.”
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