We deliver vital primary health care services to a widely dispersed group of refugees. They have escaped the fighting in Syria and survive in appalling conditions, in makeshift tents and abandoned buildings. Women and children are particularly vulnerable, with high levels of disease and disability, and struggle to access the local health system. Our mobile clinic, staffed by a doctor, nurse and health educator, visits each settlement weekly, providing free healthcare, vaccinations and education.
Over 130,000 Syrian refugees are registered in the south of Lebanon and the number continues to rise. Women and young children constitute 70% of the refugee population, with most completely dependent on aid programmes for survival. There are no formal camps and refugees are forced to squat abandoned buildings or live in makeshift tents in deprived areas. Living conditions are appalling. Chronic malnutrition, communicable disease and infestation are rife, and local health services overwhelmed.
The delivery of free, mobile healthcare services overcomes two of the main obstacles facing refugees: the lack of transport to static health centres supported by the UN/Lebanese government, and the contribution they are asked to make to the cost of such care. Our mobile clinic is: well staffed and supplied; able to treat common acute problems; and able to provide reproductive healthcare for women and vaccination/growth monitoring for children, educate refugee communities and refer on when needed
This is a volatile and critical situation. We have been working with the refugee community for the past 6 months, and are looking to secure funding for the next 6 months at least. Although the settlements visited will vary over time we intend to maintain a beneficiary group of 2,500, aiming to: 1. Prevent avoidable death, disease and disability. 2. Specifically address the health needs of women and young children. 3. Address emerging public health threats through education/disease surveillance.