Jul 20, 2023
A review of barriers and challenges to achieving the right to health in Lebanon - Maysa Baroud
Maysa Baroud
Senior Program & Research Officer

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Maysa Baroud

This research is a part of the Arab Watch Report 2023 on the right to Health.

Right to health in the times of crisis: A review of barriers and challenges to achieving the right to health in Lebanon - Maysa Baroud
Please click here to download the full report.



Introduction

Lebanon’s current economic crisis, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the August 4 Beirut Blast, has had a profound impact on all aspects of life and, in turn, on the living conditions for many. The currency has lost over 90% of its value, with consequences on the purchasing power of most of the population. Inflation is soaring—the overall consumer price index increased by 253.55% from June 2022 to June 2023, and food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 279.54%, while the health prices (including services, medicines, and medical equipment) increased by 284.27% (Central Administration of Statistics [CAS] 2023). In addition, the government has lifted subsidies on basic commodities, including certain medicines, fuel, and infant formula. Import tariffs have also been raised, impacting the price of commodities and their affordability, noting that Lebanon relies heavily on imports for most goods, including food and medicine.


The crisis was years in the making and exposed a weak political and economic system upheld by a corrupt political class. Lebanon’s liberal economic approach, adopted after the country’s independence, has enriched a small proportion of the population while perpetuating inequities. Available welfare and social protection programs are fragmented, complex or non-functional and continue to promote reliance on the political class (Proudfoot 2021a, 2021b). Furthermore, what should be public services have often been provided by the private sector. Even before the crisis, the quality of public services in Lebanon was poor—with regard to health, the crisis exposed already existing structural problems in Lebanon’s healthcare system. The quality of public services has continued to deteriorate since the onset of the compounded crisis at the end of 2019, while governorates other than the capital Beirut, and part of Mount Lebanon remain underdeveloped. Indeed, the greatest consequences of Lebanon’s crisis have been especially felt by those most vulnerable (Bourhrous 2021).


Against this backdrop, this report seeks to shed light on the impact of Lebanon’s ongoing economic crisis and weak public services on the health of individuals and the right to health for all in the country. The report provides a review of (select) cross-cutting issues that impact the attainment of the right to health, focusing on issues related to healthcare access and management. The report also provides a brief overview of the development of Lebanon’s health system. Based on the findings, it concludes with recommendations to facilitate the attainment of the right to health for all in Lebanon. The report relies primarily on a review of available literature and secondary data (the limitations of which are discussed in a later section of this report).


Maysa Baroud
Please click here to download the full report.

This research is a part of the Arab Watch Report 2023 on the right to Health.




Recent publications
Apr 08, 2024
Fiscal Policy, Price Levels, and Wages in Selected Arab Countries ‪-‬ Dr. Nasser Abdel Karim
Mar 27, 2024
A History of Dutch Disease: Can Lebanon Get the Better of It?
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