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Lebanon shuts down medical center provides free care for Syrian refugees

Syrian Refugees | 2018-07-14 02:35:15
Lebanon shuts down medical center provides free care for Syrian refugees
 (Zaman Al Wasl)- Lebanese Health Ministry has shut down a medical center providing free health care for hundreds of Syrian refugees, such a move deepened their suffering amid mounting pressure to push the displaced out of Lebanon, activists said Saturday.

The Lebanese ministry clamed that the medical center of al-Bashaer in Tripoli is recruiting Syrian medics what violates the domestic law.

Refugee activists demanded the Lebanese authorities to re-open the center, which provided more than 700 medical services to the Syrian refugees in seven years.

Lebanon has been hosting at least 1.1 million Syrian refugees, which has created an additional burden on the authorities and left Syrian refugees unable to access proper healthcare.

According to Defenders for Medical Impartiality, the legal status of Syrian refugees also represents a barrier to accessing healthcare. Since the Lebanese government instituted a policy ending the free entrance of Syrian refugees to Lebanon in October 2014, 70% of Syrian refugees currently have no legal status in the country. A study conducted by the Norwegian Refugees Council highlighted that 65% of the refugees refrain from traveling to medical facilities because they fear being arrested at checkpoints for not having valid legal status.

Another 55% highlighted the cost of treatment as a main obstacle. In order to reduce the cost of treatment and facilitate refugees’ access to medical facilities, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), is passing new contracts with hospitals across Lebanon.

Despite the efforts of UNHCR and other NGOs to provide refugees with adequate access to health care, some are still denied this fundamental right. Syrian refugees are sometimes advised by doctors to return to Syria for treatment. One NGO worker said, “I often hear from other workers in the field that people sometimes go back to Syria for certain medical interventions because they’re free of charge there. So basically, they would rather risk their lives to access the treatment, than stay here where they can’t afford it. And then of course, for those who can’t go back, their health situation would deteriorate”. 

 

Zaman Al Wasl
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