Beirut, Lebanon – SAMS has launched a new program to provide financial support to displaced and underserved populations in Lebanon, who struggle to access hospitalization and specialized care due to the prohibitively high cost of treatment. This program is funded through a grant from the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF). In partnership with United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this newly funded project will be 12 months in length, providing financial support for Syrians under 18 years old in need for urgent hospital care and Palestinian patients over 60 and under 18 in need of cardiovascular intervention pre-approved by UNHCR and UNRWA.
Additionally, this project supports cases for underprivileged Lebanese patients under 18 who are pre-approved and partially covered by the MoPH. SAMS will cover part of the patient's hospital invoice. Priority will be given to Syrian and Lebanese patients, mainly children under 5 (NICU, PICU), persons with serious life-threatening conditions, burn victims, and people with disabilities. SAMS will work with private and public hospitals to facilitate referrals.
In 2019, SAMS launched and implemented a similar program, also funded by LHF, to provide health services to the most vulnerable in Lebanon. Through this 18-month program, SAMS provided support to 611 beneficiaries, all of whom were children and elderly.
The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with an unprecedented economic crisis, has further increased the barriers to accessing secondary and tertiary care in Lebanon. The outbreak has further diverted human, financial, and medical resources away from urgent and life-saving care for an estimated 45% of people living below the poverty line. This overburdening of the health system and severe economic crisis was further exacerbated by the devastating blast that rocked Beirut on August 4, 2019, leaving at least 300,000 people homeless.
Through this initiative, SAMS seeks to fill the gap in secondary and tertiary healthcare by reducing the financial burden that vulnerable populations face in Lebanon, while 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 care for those with critical, unmet medical needs.
In Lebanon, SAMS operates various medical relief programs, including psychosocial support, emergency relief programs, and specialized medical missions.
About the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF):
The Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF) is one of OCHA's Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPF), established in 2014 following the decentralization of the Regional Syria Fund. The fund is a predictable and complementary source of humanitarian financing, making timely and flexible funding available for life-saving humanitarian and critical stabilization activities. Inclusiveness, flexibility, timeliness, efficiency, partnership, transparency, and value for money are the principles that underpin the use of the LHF. The LHF enables the delivery of humanitarian assistance by specifically focusing on:
- Assisting vulnerable Lebanese communities
- Responding in a timely manner to any unforeseen humanitarian emergency
- Addressing the challenges of underfunded sectors and ensuring the continuity of services provided to the most vulnerable
- Empowering NGOs and increasing their outreach
- Ensuring a reserve fund for emergency issues, in line with the Lebanon Interagency Contingency Plan
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