Gaza Emergency Appeal - Donate Now
By mid-2021 when this project started, it was almost a year after the Beirut Port explosion, which compounded the ongoing economic, political, and COVID-19 crises, as the economic situation worsened in Lebanon.
The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon (PRL) and Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) were already among the most vulnerable groups, even before the onset of the economic crisis. Two thirds of the PRL live in poverty; and the employment of one in three Palestinian refugees in employment is insecure, as many can only find temporary work as labourers. With the complete closure of many businesses and types of economic activities, thousands of refugees have lost their income.
Currently, approximately 95% of PRL do not have any health insurance and they are not able to access services provided by the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), as the specialized UN agency for Palestinian refugees, provides full coverage of primary healthcare services for PRL. However, it provides only partial support for some tertiary healthcare and treatment required for chronic conditions or diseases, such as: neurological conditions, cardiovascular diseases, transplants, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or kidney failure. According to UNRWA, 37% of all PRL and 33% of all PRS are living with a chronic medical condition. The situation of elderly PRL and PRS is even worse, as 87.6% of all elderly PRL and 85.7% of all elderly PRS have some type of chronic disease.
Due to their age and medical conditions, many Palestinian refugees require hospitalisation – which is partially covered by UNRWA and other NGOs (including Welfare Association). UNRWA covers 90% of the cost for secondary hospital services and 60% of the very high costs of tertiary treatment at contracted Lebanese hospitals.
In addition, UNRWA currently utilizes two different systems to support patients in need of hospitalisation. The first, is the regular support for tertiary hospitalisation (which covers 60% [up to a ceiling of US $5,000 per admission] of the total cost). The second, is under the “Medical Hardship Fund” (partially covering the fees of patients whose cost of admission for in-patient treatment is USD $8,000 and above). The percentage of support depends on the total cost per admission in both contracted and non-contracted hospitals, up to a ceiling of $6,000.
The recent funding difficulties faced by UNRWA, the declining interest or ability of donors to fund projects focusing on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and the economic crisis in Lebanon – means it is now more urgent than ever that essential and lifesaving medical support is accessible for Palestinian refugees (both PRL and PRS). In order to help increase access to specialized medical treatment and cover hospitalisation costs.
WA has helped to implement multiple projects for PRL and PRS throughout Lebanon, covering costs for kidney dialysis, costs for surgeries, treatment of children with thalassemia, cancer treatment, and providing support to UNRWA's CARE programme, among other things.
This project was completed in 2022 and was able to support 44 patients with chronic medical conditions, the majority of surgeries were for heart conditions, cancer, and knee & hip replacements.
One of the patients in this Project, Mrs. Ahmine,* is 52 years old living in Al-Beddawi Refugee Camp in a rented house with her husband and three sons. Her husband is unemployed and looking for work, her sons are in school, all under 18 years of age. Her health issues began when she had difficulty breathing and found herself perpetually exhausted.
Mrs. Ahmine went to the doctor and he requested that she do a heart tilt, which showed she needed cardiac catheterisation. Through this project, she was able to secure some of the funds to cover these costs. The surgery was a success and Mrs. Ahmine is in very good health again and very happy to have recovered so well.
Another patient able to access health care in this project is Mrs. Hamoud,* a 59-year-old Palestinian refugee living in Nahr El Bared Refugee Camp. Mrs. Hamoud suffered chronic pain for more than 12 years following a fall on her knee. Following surgery, partially funded through this project, she was finally able to report to our project team that she no longer has any pain. She noted what a massive and life-changing improvement this has made for her and her family!
This project was completed in 2022.
*Names have been changed
 4 August 2020, a warehouse containing large quantities of chemicals exploded at the Beirut Port. A subsequent blast caused widespread devastation, reaching more 20 kilometres away. With more than 190 killed, 6000 injured and 300,000 people made homeless. The estimated cost of the destruction was over US$ 6 billion BBC, ’Beirut Port Explosion’, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-53670839. Specialists at the University of Sheffield estimate that the blast at the Beirut port had about one tenth of the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War Two and was "unquestionably one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in history" [last accessed: 9/2/2023]
 UNRWA and AUB study published in 2015
 The tilt table test (also called a passive head-up tilt test or head-upright tilt test) records your blood pressure, heart rhythm, and heart rate on a beat-by-beat basis as the table is tilted to different angles. The table always stays head-up.
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