Essential services like neo-natal care are threatened by a lack of a reliable fuel and electricity supply in Lebanon. AP
The World Health Organization has warned of immense challenges facing the health sector in Lebanon.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr Ahmed Al Mandhari, in a joint statement after a two-day visit to Beirut Sunday, said the current economic crisis has increased poverty across the country, and all sectors including health, are at risk of collapse.
"Basic and life-saving medicines are in short supply, with restrictions in foreign currency severely limiting importation of medicines and medical goods," read the statement.
"A brain drain is occurring at alarming speed. Almost 40% of skilled medical doctors and almost 30% of registered nurses have already left the country either permanently or temporarily. Mental health needs are greater than ever before, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to create additional challenges for both the health sector and communities alike."
The WHO stressed that it remains "committed to continuing our immediate, lifesaving work in Lebanon, while also planning for longer-term strategies for health."
"And we count on the support of all sectors and all stakeholders to build on the support they have provided so far, so that together, we can take Lebanon from its current crisis to a future where all people can enjoy health as a basic right."