In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Tearfund supports local health clinics that provide subsidised health care to Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese families.
Fatima, 44, relies on the supported clinics to provide health care for her and her children. She and her family of 12 escaped the ongoing crisis in Syria, and have been living in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley ever since.
“We came to Lebanon five years ago, escaping the tragic events that happened in our beloved Syria. I have a big family and already lost my oldest son in the war. I don’t want to lose anyone else,” says Fatima.
Outside of Syria, Fatima’s family has struggled to provide for themselves. “My husband used to work in construction back in Syria,” Fatima says. “Now he has not been able to work for several months. He was hit by a car and his health does not allow him to work. Currently, my oldest son of 17 years is the only provider. The only help we get is from him and a little from the organisations.”
Health care in Lebanon is not free: consultations, medical procedures, and medicines all incur costs. These costs are a major barrier to Syrian refugees, many of whom struggle to earn an income to provide for their families. Tearfund Canada subsidises the costs of consultations for Syrian refugee families and vulnerable Lebanese people, reducing the consultation fees from 7,000 Lebanese Pounds (LBP; around USD 4.50) to LBP 3,000 (USD 2), and providing medicines and vaccinations for free.
Fatima and her family have been grateful for the support that Tearfund has provided to health clinics run through its local partner.
“If it wasn’t for the support I am getting from the clinic and the doctors here, I wouldn’t know what I would do,” Fatima says. “I have a big family and it’s really hard to keep providing medications and health care since someone is always sick. Thanks to Tearfund I can get free medication and vaccinations for my children and almost free consultations with the doctors. I can even get medication for my husband who was hit by a car. I have been coming here for over four years and every one of the staff is very helpful and friendly. I thank God I have these people.”
Fatima is in the clinic with her youngest child, a five-year-old girl named Sara.* Sara has a bad cough and Fatima is worried about her, so she has brought her to the clinic for a check-up. Sara was examined by one of the SDC clinic staff, Dr. Ali el Khatib. After careful examination, Dr. Ali told Fatima not to worry and prescribed some medication for Sara. Fatima was able to directly to get the medication for free from the pharmacy facing the clinic.
“I can’t express how grateful I am for the huge help I am getting in the clinic, and I want to thank everyone contributing because it is making big difference to our lives,” Fatima says before leaving the clinic that day.