The head of the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, revealed that Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati had informed him last week that he could not find his medication in the Lebanese market due to the severe shortages in the country.
The remark was made upon the Tedros’s return to Geneva from a trip to Afghanistan and Lebanon. He was accompanied by WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari.
“A deadly combination of the political and financial crisis are having devastating consequences for the health of Lebanese people, there is ... a serious shortage of supplies, medical equipment, fuel, and electricity,” Tedros he said.
“Two thousand medical doctors and 1,500 registered nurses have left the country,” he told a press conference.
“This breakdown in health services is having a rippling effect on the availability of basic and essential health care, as well as on emergency response, polio eradication, and COVID-19 vaccination efforts,” he added.
In Afghanistan, a funding pause by international donors threatens the Sehatmandi project, which supports 2,300 health facilities and is the backbone of the national health system.
Mandhari warned that the health systems in Lebanon and Afghanistan are on the brink of collapse.
He noted that two-thirds of the clinics and hospitals in Afghanistan are suffering from the shortage of medicines and the majority of health workers haven’t been paid for months.
Concerning Lebanon, he said: “With more than 55 percent of people in the country living under the poverty line, this greatly increases risks of medical complications from chronic diseases for those patients who cannot afford or access treatment.”