The deepening economic crisis in Lebanon doesn’t stop for cancer patients

Beirut, Sep 17 (EFE).- After over two months of fighting cancer at home, Salma’s mother has landed a coveted bed in a public hospital outside Beirut but that does not guarantee her access to treatment amid Lebanon’s deepening socio-economic crisis.

Lebanon is experiencing a severe shortage of chronic disease medication, which takes a heavy toll on those in need of chemotherapy and other specialized medical care in the country that registered about 17,300 cancer cases and 9,000 linked deaths in 2018, according to figures from the Global Cancer Observatory.

“We could not admit her to a hospital earlier because she does not have health insurance and it is very difficult to do so through the health ministry,” Salma tells Efe.

Her mother was transferred a few days ago to the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, one of the largest medical institutions in the Arab country and to which she had access thanks to her doctor’s efforts after two and a half months of home treatment.

Healthcare has become a luxury as almost 80% of the Lebanese population is living in poverty due to the economic crisis that erupted in 2019 and is now seen as one of the worst in the world.

Similar to other cancer patients, Salma says that her mother needs to undergo medical imaging tests every two weeks but her family cannot afford it since the prices have doubled amid the deteriorating situation in a country that is heavily dependent on imports.

Issam Chehade, head of the ??hematology and oncology division at the hospital, explains to Efe that the lack of medicines is one of the main issues facing his department but he adds that some pharmacies help by selling them their limited supplies.EFE


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