Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011 and the start of the civil war in 2014, Libya has been in the midst of an economic collapse and has suffered from the proliferation of radical armed groups. Infrastructures have been destroyed and access to basic services, such as health care, has dramatically decreased, leading to displacement and a general deterioration in the living conditions of the population. The population is also facing protection problems related to the conflict and the current insecurity.
For example, in 2020, out of Libya’s population of 6,7 million, there were an estimated 475 000 people in need of protection and 526 000 people with health needs (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2020). The impact of the COVID-19 crisis was particularly strong on Libya’s major cities.
Description of the mission
After an exploratory mission in 2016, Première Urgence Internationale opened an operational base in Benghazi in February 2017. The NGO has another base in Al Kufrah, opening in September 2019, as well as a coordination office based in Tunis.
In Libya, the team is composed of more than 70 national staff while a team of expatriates supports them remotely from Tunis, due to accessibility obstacles.
Premiere Urgence Internationale in action
Première Urgence Internationale is recognized as a major player in health in northeastern Libya through its actions in Benghazi and the region. The NGO has also been working in the Al Kufrah district in the Southeast since 2019.
We work on building the resilience of the most vulnerable populations affected by the ongoing conflicts and improving their access to essential services. The NGO’s activities in the country are based on an integrated approach combining the provision of comprehensive primary health care services, psychosocial support interventions, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) assistance, and protection services to promote health and well-being among targeted populations.
In 2020, Première Urgence Internationale also supported local authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by providing training to health professionals.
KHALIL, A SEVEN-MONTH-OLD BABY GETTING STRONGER
Al Kufra is a district of the south-east of Libya with three municipalities including Al Jawf, Tazerbou and Rebyana gathering around 70,000 inhabitants. The population of Al Kufra has limited access to services, particularly health care, due to the remote geographic location of the region, the lack of skilled health personnel as well as the limited medical supplies and equipment even in main cities.
COVID-19: In Libya, Première Urgence Internationale maintains its health activities
Libya recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 24, 2020, since then there are 4,063 confirmed cases and 93 deaths (according to the National Centre for Disease Control – NCDC – data as of August 4, 2020). Since the start of the pandemic, the Première Urgence Internationale teams have decided to maintain their health activities to meet the needs of the vulnerable population and to include a COVID-19 component to limit the spread of the virus in the two areas of Benghazi and Al Kufra where the NGO operates.
Indeed, the already fragile health system before the outbreak of COVID-19, fears a real threat for the country, in case the virus will spread throughout the country.