When an explosion ripped through Beirut on August 4, 2020, it heavily damaged four hospitals, putting them largely out of commission. More than 20 primary care facilities, serving approximately 160,000 patients, were damaged or destroyed, according to the World Health Organization.
And throughout the night, patients poured into hospitals.
“We received hundreds of patients on the night of the explosion,” recalled Dr. Firass Abiad, a surgeon and CEO of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, the largest pubic hospital in Lebanon. “A lot of the hospitals used a lot of their medical supplies taking care of the patients that night,” depleting an already compromised supply.
Now, more than two months after the blast, Lebanon’s advanced health system, already weakened by economic collapse, is low on vital medications and supplies. Patients unable to afford health care are showing up at hospitals with unmanaged chronic health issues, “in very bad condition,” said Dima Zayat,