Within the Lebanese health system, around 450 Primary Health Care (PHC) centres and dispensaries are part of a joint chronic medications program between the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).
This program was established to supply medications for chronic diseases to serve people that would otherwise struggle to access the necessary treatment. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and others are among the top five diseases affecting Lebanese and Syrian refugees.
Today, the provision of essential chronic disease medications is possible through the generous contributions from the European Union, enabling more than 100,000 Lebanese and Syrians to receive their subsidized medications.
The European Union has been one of the major contributors to the chronic medications program since 2014 through various donations.
The European Union’s instrumental support to the Lebanese health care system has further expanded to help respond to the severe economic and public health crisis that the country is going through. With the novel Corona virus epidemic, the risk that more vulnerable people will need essential medications without being able to afford them is higher. Accordingly, the EU thus tripled their support in 2020 and also included acute medications to around 350 000 beneficiaries.
With this EU support, the chronic medications program is bridging a significant gap, making essential chronic disease medications available to those for whom it would otherwise be unaffordable.
“The support from the EU has been instrumental to the growth and resilience of the Lebanese health care system”, said Dr Iman Shankiti, WHO Representative in Lebanon.