MSF Lebanon hospital adapted to care for cholera patients
As part of its continuous and ongoing efforts to fight the cholera outbreak in Lebanon, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has adapted its hospital in Bar Elias, in the Bekaa valley, to receive and treat cholera patients with an initial capacity of 10 beds, which can be expanded according to the needs. With the adaptations done, the hospital will continue to function for urgent surgical procedures.
Since the declaration of the outbreak in Lebanon on the 6th of October, MSF has increased its efforts in various regions of the country, including Tripoli, Akkar, Bekaa and Beirut, to support the communities and the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health in the curbing of the cholera spread.
MSF teams are simultaneously carrying out needs assessment for supporting the setting up of other cholera treatment facilities in the most affected areas. The teams are also sharing their expertise in the management of cholera outbreaks with other local and international actors in the country through trainings and sharing of experiences according to the international protocols. This is due to MSF’s longstanding 50 years of experience in emergency settings throughout the world, and years of experience with cholera prevention and treatment.
This cholera outbreak is happening at a time when Lebanon is faced with an economic crisis with dire consequences on the medical response, the proper maintenance of the waste management and water networks, as well as its impact on people’s access to safe and clean water. “Local and international actors in Lebanon are needed at this time to put forth and prioritize the necessary measures for ensuring safe access to clean drinking water, and safe water and sanitation supplies for everyone”, says Julien Raickman, MSF Head of Mission in Lebanon.
In addition to the hospitalisation capacities in Bar Elias, other MSF clinics in Akkar, Northern Bekaa, and South Beirut are getting equipped with oral rehydration points, “and we are also supporting designated health care facilities to manage patients seeking medical attention for acute watery diarrhoea.” Adds Reickman.
It is worth noting that most of the cholera infected patients do not report severe symptoms. However, it remains vital not to delay seeking medical care in case of acute watery diarrhoea as starting rehydration treatment early is key to prevent deterioration and risk of death. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the international medical organisation is also mobilising its teams to raise awareness on cholera among the different communities.