Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Samira, refugee in Lebanon, risks losing her transplanted kidney

Features | 2016-03-25 15:51:20
 Samira, refugee in Lebanon, risks losing her transplanted kidney
Translation by Yusra Ahmed

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Samira Abdul Karim Karzon, a Syrian woman refugee in Ersal from Qusayr in the countryside of Homs, suffers of renal failure and had had a kidney transplant few years ago in Syria.

Samira suffers now in finding her medications especially those for immunity suppression to keep her transplanted kidney working, because it is too expensive and cost reaches to $250 monthly and not available in all hospital affordable by the poor Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“there are more than 20 edical centre in Ersal, bu all they can offer either paracetamol ore Aspirin” Samira said sarcastically.
According to Samira, there are another 4 cases similar to her medical condition and they are suffer in finding or afford for their medications and keep wondering from hospital to medical centre hoping they might find a charitable agency can sponsor them and affor them the drugs they need.

In its report, Agonizing Choices: Syrian refugees in need of health care in Lebanon, published in 2014, Amnesty International identifie some serious gaps in the level of medical services available to refugees. In some cases Syrian refugees, including those requiring emergency treatment, were turned away from hospitals.
“Hospital treatment and more specialised care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon are woefully insufficient, with the situation exacerbated by a massive shortage of international funding. Syrian refugees in Lebanon are suffering as a direct result of the international community’s shameful failure to fully fund the UN relief programme in Lebanon,” Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Thematic Issues at Amnesty International said in the report.

The report mentioned that the health system in Lebanon is highly privatised and expensive, leaving many refugees reliant on care subsidised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, due to a shortage of funds it was forced to introduce a restrictive set of eligibility criteria for people in need of hospital treatment. Even when refugees meet the tight criteria, most must pay 25% of the costs themselves, and many Syrian refugees suffering from serious health conditions requiring hospital care or more complicated treatments like burns and infections, often go untreated.

The Amnesty report mentioned that (UNHCR) and its partners were prioritising primary health care and treatment for life-threatening emergencies. However, many Syrian refugees living with cancer and other long-term illnesses were unable to afford expensive treatments they require in Lebanon and many families face huge debts due to mounting medical costs. The report gave an example of Amal, a Syrian refugee in Lebanon who needed go back to Syria twice a week for kidney dialysis, which she cannot afford in Lebanon, although by doing that she risks her life, but she had no option.

Amnesty International recognises that the influx of refugees has placed an overwhelming strain on Lebanon’s resources, including health services. However, it is also calling on the government to adopt a long- term strategy for coping with health care needs for the Syrian refugee population.

There are currently more than 1.5 million registered refugees from Syria in Lebanon, which equivalent to a third of the country’s pre-Syria war population.
Registered Syrian refugees can seek access to health care in Lebanon through a UNHCR-run programme. Due to limited financial resources available, UNHCR has adopted an approach which prioritises primary health and emergency care over more costly and complex treatments and hospital care.
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