Success Story: Reviving Municipal Health Services, One Clinic at a Time
Having a heart condition meant serious trouble for patients in the northern village of Meshmesh. This was the case a year ago. Then, the Municipal Mother and Child Health Clinic had no capacity to offer cardiovascular diagnoses.
High blood pressure is a common chronic condition faced by many Lebanese. Patients are too often placed in the position to postpone early treatment. As such, hypertension becomes a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease when not addressed early and properly enough.
One patient, Ahmad, discovered his blood pressure was too high after visiting the Municipal Clinic for a routine exam. He explains that the location of the clinic is very accessible to him. “I was at work a few minutes ago, and now I am here for a medical checkup”, he says. As a hypertension patient, he shudders when he thinks about the stress and fatigue that was required in travelling to the nearest available care centers, which are 30 or 50 km away.
When asked how he feels about traveling to Halba or Tripoli for medical care, his feelings were: “A patient becomes more stressed and tired.” Indeed, accordingto Dr. Khaled, the administrator of the clinic, there are many cases where patients resort to their spouse, or child, to drive them, given the lack of public transportation services. This means out-of-pocket costs, and forgone wages in addition to an expensive medical bill.
Now this has changed with the arrival of new equipment that Live Lebanon has provided for the residents of Meshmesh and its surrounding communities. Indeed, this support now provides the clinic with the capacity to offer more services. After his recent exam, Ahmad was joyous to note that he “paid only LBP 60,000 (USD 40) for the entire medical diagnosis at the clinic in Meshmesh.” This included the cost of medication and doctor fees. “The same diagnosis in Tripoli would have cost me LBP 150,000 (USD 100), besides medicines, transportation fees and my lost pay,” he continues.
Live Lebanon provided a cardiac eco-graphic Doppler, which is the reason behind Ahmad’s improved access to medical care. Dr. Khaled explains that more than 40patients now visit the clinic for cardiovascular exams every month, noting that fees are also not charged for patients from low-income backgrounds.
Accessibility to healthcare services and medical fees are critical in determining a patient’s healthcare choices. The clinic in Meshmesh now offers medical diagnoses through specialists that benefit local residents residing in 10 neighboring villages: Fneidek, Al Korna, Beit Ayoub, Beit Youness, Al Erayat, Hrar, Abeid, Habsheet, Houeish, and Shan. This success story demonstrates how Lebanon is becoming healthier, one municipal clinic at a time.
Support to this project was made possible thanks to a generous contribution by Abraaj Capital.