With years of experience campaigning for access to essential medicines in South African, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) fieldworker Claire Waterhouse, fou
Lebanon: Illness must not rid life of its value
In the Burj el-Barajneh Palestinian camp to the south of Beirut, an MSF team provides home-based care to almost 170 elderly and bed-ridden patients living with chronic diseases.
The service brings not only medical benefits for the patients, but often also allows a brief moment of human warmth in otherwise very lonely lives.
The home-based chronic diseases care programme targets patients who have difficulty with movement which prevents them from seeking important regular medical check-ups.
MSF launched the programme in Burj el-Barajneh in May 2016. It currently provides this service for almost 170 camp residents.
Through the home-based chronic diseases care programme in Burj el-Barajneh, MSF aims to ensure access to medical services for the neediest groups, especially those with chronic diseases. Diabetes, hypertension and heart disease are among the leading causes of death in low and middle-income countries such as Lebanon.
They are even more dangerous with age and in the absence of necessary healthcare.
The programme is based on periodic visits carried out by the medical team to the homes of elderly patients to follow-up and treat chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Regular follow-ups carried out by the medical team contribute to a remarkable improvement in the health of patients. In addition to the necessary medical examinations, the patient’s medical team provides them with guidance on how to take care of themselves, how to take the medication and insulin injections, and the diet to be followed to control their illnesses, as well as information on other health-related topics.
For people who have lost their loved ones, lived in displacement camps and experienced unemployment, disease, destitution and loneliness, for those who have been left alone in life, the medical staff have become like family. As Amna Banat, 84, says, smiling, “When they come to see me, I feel cured.”
Find out more about MSF's work in Lebanon.