Lebanon: “It is important to stick to basic healthcare, apart from COVID-19”
The current pandemic must not overshadow other health emergencies and sanitarian crises faced by vulnerable people. In Lebanon, Première Urgence Internationale takes great care of providing constant support to vulnerable populations and facilitating them the access to basic services, despite the stress caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
Roukaya going to the health center in Wadi Khaled with one of her children, for medical consultation. © Première Urgence Internationale – 2020.
Première Urgence Internationale teams met Roukaya, a 30 year-old mother of 2 children and pregnant of her third, who came to Lebanon 8 years ago. She is living in Wadi Khaled and working as a farmer with her husband to earn a living and to be capable to provide her children with food, shelter, health and education.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roukaya lost her job and her husband could barely arrange to work 3 or 4 days per month. She became anxious, as the family’s financial situation forbade them from vaccinating their children. She was also frightened as her children may be at risk of infection due to this new outbreak. She stuck to the quarantine and canceled all her children’s activities including routine visits to the pediatrician and her own monthly gynecologist check-ups.
Moreover, Roukaya was convinced that the quality of the vaccine at the primary care center was bad and dangerous for her children and could cause complications, thus she preferred to visit a private pediatrician. Her children skipped 4 main vaccines during the quarantine, and she was worried that they may be at risk of contracting diseases such as COVID-19.
Importance to stick to the vaccination schedule
Roukaya was identified by Première Urgence Internationale’s health outreach volunteers, and enrolled in the community health club. During a remote awareness session about COVID-19, one of the outreach volunteers explained the services supported by the NGO in the primary healthcare center and the safety measures taken by the health staff during the pandemic.
The mother, anxious about her 2 children and her ongoing pregnancy, told about her worries and her difficult financial situation. The outreach volunteer clarified privately the importance to stick to the vaccination schedule, explained her how immunization is monitored by the Ministry of Public Health, highlighted how important it is to follow a routine pregnancy check-up… She also highlighted the low cost of the basic consultation and encouraged her to try and make a call for an appointment.
Thanks to Première Urgence Internationale’s individual support, Roukaya overcame her fear. She took her children to the primary healthcare center for vaccination and planned for another appointment for herself with the gynecologist. She called the outreach volunteer to thank her for her support and expressed her wish to attend another awareness session. “I wish I had your support way before”, she said.
These activities have been made possible thanks to the support of the European Trust fund for the Syrian crisis (MADAD Fund).