Abyad reveals the reality of the health sector in Lebanon

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Health Minister Firas Abyad stressed “the necessity of saving the school year, otherwise we will face a catastrophe greater than the health disaster if we lose a third school year, and the Ministry of Health has secured all the requirements to prevent corona virus.”In an interview with him on Radio Free Lebanon, he said: “First of all, the Lebanese citizen is right when he suffers, and we live in the same country. Our duty as officials is to try as much as possible to secure better conditions, and I think everyone knows the capabilities that exist and are available in the Ministry of Health, which works through The funding that was given to us is $35 million.”

He stressed that “the lack of funding is the reason for the delay in the drug card.”

As for the return of students to schools in light of the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, and the follow-up to the health protocol, he said: “We must know that whoever judges the decision to open schools is not only in Lebanon but in all the world, two topics: the first topic is the epidemic, and the second topic is the measures that are taken in the school On the subject of the epidemiological spread, it is true that we were witnessing high numbers of “Omicron”, but as the Ministry of Health, we followed the issue of hospitalization, examinations, and others.He added, “We still believe that we will witness that these numbers that appear from the omicron will gradually rise, unfortunately, and it has become clear that it is following wave after wave, and we are preparing for it, and we may not finish the corona the way we want, which means it may become like influenza and other existing diseases, but We must protect ourselves with a vaccine.”

He continued, “The vaccination campaigns that we are implementing are witnessing an excellent turnout. From a month ago, we were achieving 70 doses per week. Currently, the number has reached 160 doses. More than 240,000 students between the ages of 12 and 18 have registered to take the vaccine, and the numbers are increasing, so we cannot lose a third year.” school, this disaster is more than any other health disaster, to preserve their safety and health, and there are several things that have been secured for schools for free, including more than two million masks through the Health Organization and UNICEF, sterilizers and others so that there is no excuse for all public and private schools.

Abyad said: “We have provided 80,000 rapid test tests, and this is also free for the Ministry of Education and for all schools. With all the little possibilities, the Ministry of Health provided 10 thousand free PCR tests in government hospitals for the official sectors, and we hope to gradually restore activity in our schools with all these submissions, and to complete school year”.

And about the spacing inside the classrooms and playgrounds and dividing students into two shifts “A and B”, he stressed that “we discussed this issue with the Ministry of Education and they confirmed that they will follow up the file, even the parents, if they notice any violation. There is a number through which it is possible to communicate with the Ministry of Education and take measures, we are We cannot put a guard at the door of each class, but awareness must be provided by parents and schools, and there must be cooperation between the responsible official authorities and the students’ families.”

And he added, “Initially, when the partial subsidy was lifted, the aim was to return the medicine to the country, because the medicine stopped entering the country for a period of 4 or 5 months, due to the dispute that occurred between the Banque du Liban, the importers and the administration, and there were no transfers abroad, we were We see patients, including cancer patients and others who have become without medication, and the interruption of medication for them was tantamount to execution. Therefore, we had to return the medication to the country in any way, and this is what happened.”

He pointed out that “the primary health care centers that provide a large amount of medicines for chronic diseases and others are provided free of charge to citizens registered in these centers, and there is an effort with donors and others to increase the quantities of medicines in these centers, and the second issue is the local pharmaceutical industry, which used to provide fewer medicines.” One of the “brand” prices that we bring from abroad, and here the support was doubled, on the one hand we provide medicine to the citizen at the lowest cost, and on the other hand we support the industry, which can become part of the economic solution, or the solution to a better economic situation.”

In response to the question about supporting the local drug industry, he replied: “We told them that we are ready and in order to reach this issue, they have the ability to expand their factories, and if they expand, the support will certainly be greater and in their favor. This issue for us is strategic and there is no return from it, but, the rise The stairs start step by step.

He added, “We do not forget the subject of the initial registration, which means, any drug that enters the Lebanese market goes through a registration stage in the Ministry, and this usually requires a long period to ensure quality and pricing, etc… This means that there are drugs that could have been entered into the market with high quality, and their price is acceptable. Very, but we cannot enter them. Therefore, we have adopted the initial registration, which allows these medicines, as long as they have internationally recognized specifications and quality, to register quickly and import them. Indeed, until today, 8 companies have applied to us for many medicines that want to enter Lebanon, and their prices are much lower than the existing ones, the matter Which provides the patient with the medicines that he lacks in pharmacies, and also helps to reduce our drug bill.”

Regarding the drug card, Abyad said: “The constant thing for me is to be frank with the citizen, if during the Corona crisis when we were facing difficulties, we used to go out and be frank with the citizens, or on the subject of medicine, without populism, I looked at the available possibilities, which were made available To the ministry at the time, which is as I mentioned: the amount of $35 million, which represents a quarter of the amount available before the economic crisis, I did not care to take populist decisions, but decisions implemented that could secure medicine, and indeed, we were able to bring cancer drugs into the country and arrived, and we are still working on Chronic medicines, but unfortunately the solutions are not easy in Lebanon within the collapse of the situation if it is economic, financial and even political. All these things burden us and sometimes prevent us from implementing what needs to be done, and the Council of Ministers has not been held for 3 months, this alone constitutes an obstacle.

He added, “As for the issue of the drug card, the main problem with it is funding, even the social card whose money was originally present, remained for nearly a year in the House of Representatives to study it, until today, knowing that it was agreed upon, it was not distributed, if we wanted to wait for funding. The uninsured and then we decide who are the citizens who must be registered, it was all this time without medicine, from here the decision was that the most important thing is the availability of medicine, knowing that with the lifting of the new support that we have done, the process of the medicine cycle in Lebanon is still not organized. .

He continued, “According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization, Lebanon ranked first among the countries of Western Asia with the number of injuries in 242 injured among 100,000 Lebanese, and the most important medicines are cancer medicines, which as I mentioned that I took these decisions to speed up securing them for the injured, and as a result of the void we are witnessing forgery. drug, black market, etc.

And he added, “Of course, many cases have been transferred to the judiciary, and the ministry’s inspectors, when they discover any forgery of this kind, they prosecute the violators. When the original drug is returned and distributed by companies distributing to hospitals that know the source, this matter completely cuts off the path for these counterfeit drugs that benefit from the void.” that happened”.

He pointed out that “there are doctors who appear before the judiciary, if he is a doctor participating in the use of counterfeit medicines or if he is financially benefiting through these forged or even non-forged medicines, all of this is considered unethical, and contrary to the ethics of the profession, for which the doctor is prosecuted and punished.” .

And about “Mona Baalbaki” and the prosecution of her, Abyad confirmed that “Mona Baalbaki and her partners were brought before the judiciary, and a decision was issued to dismiss her from work, and the matter was transferred to the supervisory and judicial authorities.”

Regarding the hospital sector, which has deteriorated, he commented: “This is a reflection of the deterioration of the Lebanese currency. The dollar has risen to 33,000, and the tariffs that are paid have not changed. In fact, we are still paying for 1,500. This constitutes a great challenge for all hospitals, whether governmental or private, and one of the solutions is the agreement.” What we made with the World Bank and the loan that had to reach the Ministry of Health in order to transfer it to support the hospital bill and in order to be able to give the hospitals the tariff that we used to give three and a half times, meaning instead of what we used to give one million we are currently giving him 3 million, and of course this is the difference that the patient was asking for The ministry pays it, and the other guarantors have not yet found solutions.”

Regarding insurance patients, Minister Abyad concluded, “Without additional funding, it is impossible to treat insurance patients, and we are waiting for the Ministry of Finance to fund these ministries to help institutions.”





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