He said, “We are working to raise the level of protection, and we hope to get rid of the issue of cholera and ensure protection for the health of citizens. We also seize the opportunity to work to confront the epidemic to improve the health situation in the regions, especially in the periphery.”
The Minister of Health stated, “Cholera cases in Baalbek-Hermel are still few, and this is a good thing, but cholera must be seen not only as a crisis, but as an opportunity to shed light on the reality and strive to improve it and secure the necessary services to confront any epidemic, and the measures we called for were not limited to health institutions.” And hospital and primary care centers, but rather the development of solutions for everything that would contribute to the spread of the epidemic.
He stated, “In the first ministerial meeting on the issue of cholera, when we asked President Mikati about our demands, we had two demands, supporting workers in the health sector, and paying dues to municipalities so that they can help us control a very widespread epidemic like cholera.”
He considered that “the first issue in confronting cholera is securing safe water for citizens, and international organizations must assume their responsibilities and not reduce their services, because the repercussions of the Syrian displacement are among the causes of pollution of water sources.”
He pointed out that “international organizations have allocated 30 million euros to operate waste water treatment plants and pump water starting from the beginning of next month, including the clean water project in the town of Arsal, and in the matter of tanks, free chlorine has been provided, and laboratories have been equipped in Baalbek Governmental Hospital and 7 other hospitals.” To test the water of schools and municipalities for free.
He added, “Among the measures of readiness, Dar Al-Amal University Hospital was the first hospital to have equipped a department for cholera patients, and it is equipped with a refining station. And we are working to raise the readiness of the Baalbek Governmental Hospital, which was at the forefront of government hospitals in receiving and treating Corona patients.”
He continued, “Harbata and Arsal are in dire need of two hospital projects, because the nearest hospital to them is about 30 kilometers away, and there is difficulty in transporting patients in winter and snow, so the field visit to the land allocated for building Harbata Hospital was aimed at shedding light on this vital project.”
He said: “We also count on the role of primary care centers that have made excellent efforts and were able to play a good role in protecting communities from the Corona pandemic, in cooperation with municipalities, local associations and health authorities, so they must be provided with all support, especially from international organizations.”
And he continued, “In the Ministry, we transferred part of the hospitalization funds to the health care sector, because securing prevention is essential, and in addition to strengthening care centers and opening new centers, it is important to link them with some of the health councils in the regions to secure accurate information, determine responsibilities and follow-up.”
He regretted “the tour’s failure to carry out its duties, and part of this failure is due to weak capabilities, while the other part is due to the absence of will. We have the will and let’s put our hands together to join efforts in confronting the epidemic.”
He concluded, “The first issue that we will discuss with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, is the repercussions of the presence of the displaced on the host communities, and the need to support the host communities for the displaced.”
White’s speech came during his proactive tour to review the logistical preparations and follow up on the measures taken to limit the spread of “cholera” in Baalbek and the northern Bekaa, which included the site designated for the establishment of Harbta Hospital, and the center of the Baalbek Municipalities Union, where he met with the Crisis Cell and Union President Shafiq Shehadeh and his deputy Jamal Abdel Sater, President Muqna Municipality Fawaz Al-Miqdad, Deputy Mayor of Baalbek Municipality Mustafa Al-Shall, representative of Majdloun Municipality Yasser Khair El-Din, and municipal figures, then visited Baalbek Governmental Hospital, and concluded it by inspecting the Baalbek Social Health Center.
The White Minister was accompanied on the tour by the two deputies, Dr. Ali al-Miqdad and Yanal Solh, the head of the Department of Hospitals and Dispensaries in the ministry, Hisham Fawaz, the head of the health department in the Baalbek district, Dr. Ali Subhi Hazima, the director of the Bekaa Directorate in the Islamic Health Authority, Abbas Muawiyah, the care official in the Bekaa, Bilal Qataya. And the representative of the health office of the “Amal” movement, Muhammad Muawiyah.