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The Struggles and Crisis Faced by Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut

Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut was exposed to turning points that it tried to overcome in various ways, but successive strikes from inside and outside made its steadfastness almost impossible. The matter reached the point where its employees declared a state of emergency for the hospital, which withstood the July 2006 war and provided an honorable model in the battle against the Corona virus, despite being afflicted by the collapse of the lira’s exchange rate and its insufficient revenues to cover its expenses.

As the level of security tension rose on the border with occupied Palestine, raising scenarios of escalation leading to the possibility of war, the discussion returned within the hospital about its readiness to play its role. However, the currently available data suggest that it is impossible to rely on an effective role. Beyond that, “the hospital may collapse before any war breaks out.”

Administrative loss
About 4 years ago, signs of the Hariri Governmental Hospital crisis began to worsen after the combination of financial pressure and administrative confusion that was accumulating before the economic crisis that accelerated in 2019. The Ministry of Health did not deal seriously with the hospital crisis, until it became impossible to return in time to where it was the headquarters of the organizations. International and a destination for patients on a par with major private hospitals.

The exceptional circumstances that the hospital is required to face at the present time are not commensurate with its preparedness. At the administrative level, the hospital is still managed by an administrative committee after it was not possible to appoint an original general director. This was preceded by the appointment of a director to succeed Firas Al-Abyad, who moved from the position of General Director of the Hospital to Minister of Health. “In parallel, a general director was appointed, with whom the hospital witnessed a period of loss and a significant deterioration of its condition, coinciding with the financial difficulties that prevented the provision of many supplies. The administration was unable to maintain contracts for insurance of medical equipment and maintenance work as it should. After that, a board took over the administration and terminated the contracts of some companies.” It provides equipment maintenance services, before contracting with other companies, which means that the hospital today is not contracted with a company to maintain its equipment,” according to what administrative sources within the hospital say.

The lack of firm management means that the loss continues. The Ministry of Health ignores his role, which increases the financial loss of the hospital, especially since the administration is procrastinating in “signing contracts to receive patients at the expense of the Ministry of Health, which delays the transfer of the hospital’s financial dues to the Ministry. Note that delaying the signing of contracts causes the dues to lose their purchasing value as the dollar exchange rate moves.” .

Preparing for the worst
Under the supervision of the emergency plan announced by the Ministry of Health a week ago, the hospital is preparing for the worst scenario, which is the possibility of war. At that moment, “doctors and nurses shift to surgery and all floors prepare to receive surgical operations, except for the internal medicine department. The hospital tries not to receive non-urgent and emergency medical cases,” according to what the hospital’s acting general director, Jihad Saadeh, said in an interview with Al-Modon. “, and that in preparation for crises, “a stock of food, medical supplies and medicines is being secured.”

These facilities face a “financing problem.” According to Saadeh, “The hospital’s funds are in pounds, and none of the suppliers agree to deliver supplies to the trust that we may not use, and we pay for what we use.”

On the other hand, the sources are not optimistic about what the Ministry of Health and the hospital administration are doing. In an interview with Al-Modon, the sources relied on preparations that the ministry had previously made, but had not initiated until now. “In times of crises, including the July 2006 war, the Ministry would develop an emergency plan and rush to disburse the hospital’s dues from the accumulated bills, relying on the hospital’s inventory of medicines and supplies, and rushing to write to suppliers and donors to secure the needs.” In contrast to this, “the Ministry did not pay the hospital bills, nor did it provide medical supplies and medicines. Rather, it contented itself with asking the hospital to purchase what was needed, while it knew the reality of the financial situation.”

In their assessment of the ministry’s performance, the sources go beyond the lack of money. Rather, “there is deliberate neglect by the Ministry of the hospital, and there are practices intended to bring the hospital to its knees and destroy it.” For example, “the hospital was a center for programs by civil society associations and organizations such as the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, the International Organization for Migration… and others, so the Ministry pushed them towards peripheral and private hospitals. The Hariri Hospital benefited from them with large sums of money.”

Blackmail and sisters
In the eyes of the sources, the hospital was left to its fate amidst an economic crisis and a de facto situation. For example, “the hospital is exposed to blackmail by some companies that provide oxygen, equipment and tools for surgical operations and dialysis patients, as well as some pharmaceutical companies.”

On the technical level inside the hospital, “There are question marks about the volume of diesel used to generate electricity. The consumption rate remained the same as if the hospital was operating at full operational capacity, while today it is operating at about 40 percent of its capacity. So where does all this consumption go? Note that the air conditioners are “It should not be operated under the pretext of providing diesel.”

Electric elevators stopped working due to lack of regular maintenance. One elevator remained operational out of 14. The company undertaking the maintenance refrained from doing so in order to obtain the appropriate price. When the contract was signed with her at a price that suits her, 7 elevators were operated immediately, even though they had not undergone any maintenance. So how did it stop and then work without maintenance on the same day the contract was signed?” The sources point out that “while the elevators were stopping, medical cases were being transported on the stairs, including childbirth, dialysis, and surgical operations.”

Outside the hospital, “the private parking lot is under the control of the de facto forces on the street. Some young men from the area tend to park at the entrance to the parking lot and collect sums of money from visitors as parking fees. They give the hospital administration a small amount daily, and take the rest.”

Today the hospital is experiencing its worst era, in conditions more difficult than the July War or any war that may occur. “The hospital lives in a state of daily war, and is on the verge of collapse before a military war occurs. Any patient who comes must wait to see if he can be received and if the hospital is able to conduct the necessary tests, or if there are doctors to treat his health condition.” In light of this situation, the Ministry is putting forward an emergency plan from outside the hospital building and its capabilities. While the disaster control center was in the hospital building, as well as the emergency operations department during the July 2006 war. Therefore, the sources doubt the hospital’s ability to continue even if the war did not occur.

2023-10-20 12:22:33

#Beirut #Governmental #Hospital #disputes #collapse #war

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