Mobile clinics ready to deploy in Libya
Last February, Première Urgence Internationale launched a mission in Libya. The operational base of Benghazi is supported by the coordination team based in Tunis, in nearby Tunisia.
Libya has been facing civil war since 2014, three years after the civilian revolution of 2011 that put an end to more than forty years of power exercised by General Qaddafi. This conflict has had a huge impact on living conditions for a large section of the Libyan population, and day by day, it limits their access to essential services more and more. The conflict, and more generally, widespread insecurity in large areas of the country has led to forced displacement, increasing vulnerability for people, including women, children and the elderly. Caught in the crossfire, the conflict has also affected thousands of migrants and asylum seekers, who have been crossing Libya on their journey to Europe, resulting in a dire humanitarian situation on the Mediterranean coasts. Access to care and protection issues are now the most urgent needs. Regular shortages of medications and understaffing are having extensive impact on the running of primary health care facilities. Hospitals are full to overflowing. In an environment where chronic illnesses are common, lack of care and interruption in treatment lead to a significant rise in medical complications.
Care for migrants and for Libyans
Facing this humanitarian situation, Première Urgence Internationale has decided to set to work in Benghazi, where needs are still not met sufficiently by national and international interventions, while the situation is becoming more and more difficult due to stalemate in the conflict. In partnership with two local NGOs, LAPS (Libyan Psychological Association) and LIBAID (Libyan Humanitarian Relief Agency), the Première Urgence Internationale team is about to start using two mobile clinics in the main sites for displaced people in Benghazi. These teams will be in charge of dispensing a package of complete primary health care services, including the monitoring of people with chronic illnesses. This program will also enable the set-up of an integrated psychosocial approach to primary health care. The medical team will take part to a trainee in psychological first aid in order to respond in the best way possible to the needs of people affected by the conflict.
In a security context that does not allow the organisation to do a standard health evaluation, the partnership-based approach has allowed us to get a better understanding of the local environment and to adapt a working strategy. Working closely with these two partners while implementing the mobile clinic activities will allow us to strengthen the link with communities and to have better coordination with local stakeholders and to set up a referral system for psychosocial support.
As well as the care dispensed by the mobile team, a rapid response health mechanism will be developed. This will support the health alert and warning system already developed by the Ministry of Health and WHO. This mechanism’s aim is to carry out a quick evaluation if there is an increase in the number of internally displaced persons in an area, and/or if there are unusual epidemiological occurrences (epidemics, an increase in certain illnesses, an increase in mortality rates, etc.) and to quickly deploy mobile health care, according to needs.
*This project is supported by the European Commission (DG ECHO) and the Centre de Crise et de Soutien (CDCS) of French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.