Since the beginning of the Syria crisis, UNHCR has been supporting the refugee population in Lebanon through the national system by the provision of free or subsidized primary, secondary and tertiary health care.
UNHCR has strengthened its overall preparedness, prevention and response measures to account for the health and well-being of refugees, their Lebanese hosts and humanitarian personnel working for them all over the country.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNHCR teams have been committed to supporting collective efforts to prevent and contain transmissions of the virus, and avoid an overstretching of the health system which could be caused by a surge in cases needing hospitalization.
- UNHCR supported hospitals with additional hospital beds and ICU beds, including ventilators and other advanced equipment, as well as medicine. Since the onset of the pandemic, UNHCR teams have been working tirelessly to either build dedicated hospital expansion facilities or rehabilitate existing unused sections and refurbish them with new medical equipment. The latter remained the property of the hospitals, with the aim to cure many more patients long after COVID-19.
- Access to basic hygiene items: Sanitary kits were distributed in refugee settings (informal settlements, non-residential and collective shelters), reaching more than 432,264 persons.
- Vaccination enrolment: Outreach volunteers continue to support the vaccination enrolment of over 543,790 refugees on the IMPACT platform, which corresponds to 58% of eligible Syrian population.
- Health awareness: UNHCR conducts regular health awareness-raising sessions on transmission and prevention of COVID-19 as well as on vaccination. Important information is also shared through SMS, WhatsApp, Communication Tree, social media platforms and websites. Furthermore, the combined UNHCR-WFP Call Center answered approximately 82,000 calls pertaining to COVID-19 support. OVs and CHVs also reached out to 21,963 refugees via individual phone calls or house visits to raise immunization awareness.
- Provision of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) sets and medical Protective Personnel Equipment (PPE): UNHCR Lebanon supported 13 hospitals and procured and delivered 99 sets of ICU equipment, 586 hospital beds, 100 stationary and 20 portable ventilators. Two vaccination sites were supported with medical supplies and a loan of medical equipment. Also, UNHCR has supported the rehabilitation of two primary healthcare centers and the provision of medical supplies
Increasing awareness on the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 and access to vaccines is vital to fight the pandemic. All refugees known to UNHCR have been reached with COVID-19 awareness through SMS, WhatsApp, social media platforms and UNHCR’s website, as well as by volunteers and partners through individual phone calls or home visits. UNHCR has trained and mobilized more than 3,680 community members for the COVID-19 response, including over 709 focused on vaccination.