PROJECTS IN LEBANON
1976 - 2008
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) began working in Lebanon in 1976 in response to the civil war, sending medical teams to the south of the country and Beirut. This was MSF’s first mission in a warzone. Ensuring access to free, good quality healthcare has remained MSF’s main mission in Lebanon since 2008. People in Lebanon continue to face a near total collapse of their country’s economy and healthcare system.
Since late 2019, Lebanon has been grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades, social unrest and political turmoil.
Overlapping crises exacerbated people’s vulnerability and pushed thousands into poverty, while exponentially increasing the cost of basic goods and services, including healthcare.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic added to the struggle of the population in Lebanon. After a relatively successful containment in the early months of the year, the virus ended up spreading exponentially. This pushed the country into total lockdown, which further aggravated people’s economic woes, and overwhelmed the health-care system.
In August 2020, a major explosion tore through the capital, Beirut, and destroyed lives, homes, businesses, and warehouses of essential foods and medicines.
In response, MSF provided medical care, as well as conducted psychological first aid for people living in the devastated areas MSF also distributed hygiene kits and installed water tanks in the areas affected.
During the year, MSF continued to provide high-quality medical care in specific health sectors to those vulnerable in the country such as non-communicable diseases (NCD), mental healthcare, and sexual and reproductive health services, vaccination, paediatric care as well as treatment for children with thalassemia. MSF also provides maternity services for pregnant women.
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the number of COVID-19 cases kept on increasing in the country, the organization temporarily turned its hospital in the Bekaa valley into a COVID-19 facility and continued supporting an isolation center in Siblin, in the south of the country. MSF teams were also involved in COVID-19 testing and health promotion activities in different locations across Lebanon.
MSF also ensured access to free, good quality healthcare for migrant workers. Due to the economic crisis and because of the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, there’s been a decrease in the quality of life of migrant workers in Lebanon. MSF has set up a helpline that directs callers to mental health, medical or social support.