Two Lebanese public hospitals to shut down as crisis pushes health sector to the edge

Employees now earn as little as $40 per month as the local currency continues plummeting.

1 min read

Two public hospitals in Lebanon have been forced to bolt their doors from Thursday, July 15, if officials refrain to fund immediately needed provisions, funds and materials as the healthcare sector inches closer toward a breakdown.

Lebanon has been facing an unparalleled financial and socio-economic crisis that has wiped out life savings attached with a incapacitating liquidity crunch.

Shahar Gharbi Governmental Hospital, located in the heart of Aley district, proclaimed on Tuesday that it would stop receiving patients as of Thursday.

“We are facing crisis after crisis. Fuel shortages, medicine shortages and unsustainable wages,” Nawal Al-Hasaniya, a member of the hospital’s secretary administration, told an international news agency.

The health sector, as with almost all other sectors across the country, has been winding under the load of the country’s severe financial crisis, prompting medical practitioners to repeatedly sound the alarm.

The national currency has lost more than 91 percent of its value since October 2019, causing the value of the minimum wage to plummet to around $35 per month.

At Sibline Government Hospital on the southern outskirts of Beirut, Doctor Ali Al-Barraj echoed Al-Hasaniya’s concerns.

“It is an extremely tough situation. Starting tomorrow we are going to shut down,” he said.

Just like Shahar Hospital, his capability will limit its activities to only treating life-threatening conditions such as dialysis and heart conditions.

Employees, they clarified, now earn as little as $40 per month, with Al-Barraj calling on the Health Ministry to distribute 3 billion Lebanese lira while raising their wages.

A similar plea was made by Sibline Hospital, yet both have fallen on deaf ears.

“Until now, we have not heard anything, and we are headed toward an escalation,” Al-Hasaniya said.

Last week, the Union of Governmental Hospital Workers urged officials to increase their allowances and pay late salaries amid soaring inflation and food insecurity.

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