For Immediate Release
September 13, 2019
Beirut, Lebanon- In partnership with the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF), SAMS has recently launched a new initiative to provide financial subsidies to displaced Syrian and Palestinian refugees in order to access quality, life-saving healthcare. Through this 12-month initiative, SAMS seeks to improve access to vital, life-changing care for refugees who have limited or no access to the care they need.
According to UNRWA, 95% of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon do not have public health insurance or access to hospital indemnity insurance. For Syrian refugees, UN agencies, NGOs, and other local groups cover the majority of primary healthcare for refugees. However, secondary and tertiary medical care institutions are semi-autonomous, preventing Syrian refugees from accessing the high cost of specialized care. The proportion of health-related expenditures within the household budget is relatively high among displaced Syrians, with an average of $157 per month for spending on health. This is especially burdensome as 70% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live below the poverty line.
SAMS will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to identify patients in need of emergency, advanced surgical procedures such as open-heart and angioplasty surgeries, as well as other costly, critical procedures. This project targets vulnerable individuals, mainly children and elderly, living in underserved communities across Beirut, Mount Lebanon, the Bekaa’s Valley, Akkar T5, and South Lebanon.
Through this initiative, SAMS seeks to fill the gap in secondary healthcare access by reducing the financial burden that many refugees face in Lebanon and strengthening the hospital referral mechanism. This initiative is not designed to create an unsustainable parallel system for care in Lebanon, but rather to improve access to secondary and tertiary care for those with critical, unmet medical needs.
In Lebanon, SAMS operates a number of medical relief programs, including psychosocial support, diabetes care, dialysis, and others, and organizes frequent, specialized medical missions to provide dignified care to Syrian refugees and underserved local communities. In 2018, SAMS provided 219,685 medical services in Lebanon, treating 145,205 patients.