Lebanon | News | Ministry of Public Health expands its service coverage to palliative care inside and outside hospitals

Ministry of Public Health expands its service coverage to palliative care inside and outside hospitals

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1 April 2018 – The Lebanese Ministry of Public Health announced on the 26 March its decision to expand its service coverage to palliative care services inside and outside hospitals through a ministerial decree. Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness.

The ministerial decree is viewed as a milestone that is the result of years of research and advocacy efforts done by the Lebanese National Palliative Care Committee in order to build a case for the importance of covering palliative care services. As palliative care is explicitly recognized under the human right to health; the WHO country office played an active role, as a member of the Lebanese National Palliative Care Committee, and supported since 2015 numerous projects that aimed at generating evidence on the importance of the availability of these services and their reimbursement by the Ministry and health coverage schemes:

  • In 2015 WHO, the Lebanese Centre for Palliative Care - Balsam and the the Ministry of Public Healthinitiated the development of a palliative care model that can offer high-quality hospital-based palliative care services. The model was developed and tested at Ain Wazein Hospital with the plan to refine and adapt it to other hospitals in the country in the future. The project focused on training of hospital-based medical personnel in palliative care and establishment of a palliative care programme.
  • In 2016 WHO supported the recruitment of a national consultant to do an exercise around the costing of palliative care services based on different palliative care models.
  • In 2017, WHO, SANAD Home Hospice Care, and the Ministry collaborated to develop a palliative care model that can offer services at the Rafic Hariri University Hospital.
  • In 2018, WHO implemented a follow up project where SANAD continued its shadowing to the palliative care team at the Rafic Hariri University Hospital and offered refresher training to the staff to enhance the sustainability of this project. A team is now well established at the hospital and offers services to patients who need it.
  • In 2019, WHO is supporting SANAD in linking the palliative care programme at Ain Wazein Hospital to sustainable quality home-based palliative care services.

WHO will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Public health and with specialized localnongovernmental organizations s in order to support the enhancement of the quality hospital- and home-based palliative care services in Lebanon.

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000) 4421
Total health expenditure (as % of general government expenditure) 10.7
Maternal mortality (per 100 000 live births) 15
Primary health care units and centres (2010) 2.5
Life expectancy 76.3

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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