Lebanon currently hosts just below 900,000 registered refugees who live both in urban centers and informal settlements. UNHCR is providing assistance and support to refugees through a variety of programs covering basic assistance, protection, shelter, WASH, education and health. The public health unit of UNHCR plays a role both in provision of health care services and institutional support through implementing partners and in coordination of the response together with the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Inter-Agency unit at UNHCR. The UNHCR public health programme aims to enhance refugee access to comprehensive health services within Lebanon. Primary health care (PHC) is the core of all health interventions and in partnership with local and international implementing partners UNHCR is currently supporting 12 PHC facilities where a basic package of health care services is provided for free or at subsidized prices for refugees. In addition,
UNHCR supports two centers specialized in mental health. In total, there are 128 primary health care facilities countrywide supported by partners in which subsidized care is available for refugees. Hospital care is an essential component of access to comprehensive health services for refugees. UNHCR supports deliveries and life-saving emergency care by paying a part of hospital fees depending on the cost of the admission. To facilitate the administration of hospital care support, UNHCR contracts a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) and since January 2017 this is NEXtCARE. The programme is based on cost-sharing in which the patient share on average constitutes one third of the total cost of the admission. The scheme is designed so that beneficiaries pay a higher proportion of low-cost admissions (between 50-25%) and a lower proportion of high-cost admissions (around 5%).
It is challenging to collect reliable routine data on the health service needs of urban/non-camp refugees when compared to those residing in traditional camps. For this reason, Household Access and Utilization Surveys (HAUS) allow UNHCR to monitor trends in how refugees access and utilize health services over time. The proportion of registered Syrian refugee households with telephone numbers in Lebanon is 98%.
Since 2014, UNHCR Lebanon has conducted annual HAUS per telephone which have provided important information on the challenges faced by refugees in accessing health care services. The survey results guide program delivery by providing timely and regular information in a cost-efficient manner on key variables relating to access and utilization.