Lebanese Army Provides Health Care
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
A series of medical clinics throughout Lebanon — a joint project of the Lebanese Army and the U.N. Development Programme — is helping to win hearts and minds of residents in turbulent neighborhoods lacking social services.
“I have been treated by many doctors for my allergy problems, heart problems, chest problems, and they were all very collaborative and they even provided me with medicines for free when they were available,” said Najwa Farshoukh, a beneficiary at the health center in Burj abi Haidar.
The center is part of a project called Addressing Urban Hot Spots in Lebanon supported by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. The project started in 2012 in Lebanon to build and strengthen national capacities to promote coexistence and peaceful resolution of conflict. “Hot spots” were identified as urban areas enduring chronic instability and deterioration.
The project focuses on the cities of Beirut and Saida, including such troubled neighborhoods and Sabra, Ain el Helwe and Jabal El Halib. By developing and disseminating strategies for safer neighborhoods, strengthening the knowledge and skills of local communities, and implementing many human rights policies, the program is trying to reduce tension between Lebanese groups as well as between Lebanese and Palestinians in informal gatherings and adjacent areas while focusing on the civil-military cooperation.
“I would like to give credit to the Civil-Military Cooperation Programme which has been and still is providing medical and daily requirements for a large segment of citizens and especially students in remote areas of Lebanon,” Gen. Amin Al Orom, representing the Lebanese Army commander in chief, said during a recent speech.
U.N. Development Programme support for the Lebanese Army Civil-Military Cooperation efforts has brought together local communities, key actors, authorities and ministries to implement pilot interventions, including the provision of essential equipment and qualifications, to social development centers, medical centers and medical dispensaries.
The Burj abi Haidar center offers one of the nation’s only echocardiogram machines and the services of a gynecologist, a pediatrician, a dentist and a cardiologist available at low rates. Hundreds of patients, including unrecorded Syrian refugees, receive medicines for free.