Global Snapshots - Lebanon: healthcare advanced yet still inaccessible
- By: Smitha Mundasad
Before 1975, Lebanon boasted one of the region's most developed economies. Beirut was the financial centre of the Middle East and home to some of the region's leading health services and medical institutions. The violent civil war, which spanned 16 years, caused enormous problems. In addition was a 22 year occupation of the south by Israel, which ended only three years ago.
The war led to the closure of most state health centres and triggered the expansion of the private sector. The healthcare sector is now dominated by ambulatory care, mostly provided by private medical practitioners and to a small extent by non-governmental organisations.1 Such healthcare delivery is important for the health of poor people and people in rural underprivileged areas.
Half of the population's health care is covered by private or public insurance schemes, for the rest, insurance is purchased by the state.1 Thus the private sector is highly