About the project
With the fall of the Gheddafi regime, Libya entered a time of chaos that has continued for the past nine years. The year 2019 saw an escalation of conflict in the south of the country and in the capital, Tripoli, with clashes reaching the most populous urban areas. Use of explosive weapons exposes the city’s population to great risk: the number of civilian victims has grown in recent years, along with the number of displaced persons and damage to civil infrastructure, including medical facilities.
This prolonged political and economic instability has had a major impact on the governance of Libya, significantly worsening access to basic services. Year after year, citizens’ health and standard of living have been eroded away, leaving particularly vulnerable individuals to turn increasingly to negative coping strategies.
Since 2011 countless Libyan hospitals and medical centres have been heavily damaged or destroyed by armed conflict and bombing. Medical care is limited due to the lack of medical staff, structural damage and shortages of pharmaceuticals. The armed militias that now proliferate all over Libya have sacked the remaining medical supplies and equipment, targeted medical personnel and members of humanitarian organisations, and prevented doctors and nurses from getting to patients, who are often the target of raids. Numerous attacks on medical personnel and facilities have been reported, often resulting in suspension of those services that are still available.
The situation of medical care in Libya is dramatic. The crisis in the country has produced about 1.5 million displaced persons and more than a million people in need of assistance. About 24% of Libyan citizens and 80% of migrants and refugees say they have difficulty accessing medical services. Those few centres that have remained open not only experience shortages of medicines and equipment but have often suffered structural damage, and are short-staffed, over-burdened with patients and suffering from problems due to insufficient maintenance.
The Ghat district (the region of Fezzan, in the southwestern corner of the country, on the border with Algeria) has seen a massive influx of internal refugees, resulting in increased demand for basic services. But the local healthcare facilities are not even sufficient for the resident population, with only one hospital and two primary care centres currently active in the area.
The situation in the Zawya district (Libya’s fifth-largest city, 45 km from Tripoli) is highly precarious due to its vicinity to the conflict zones. The resident population has no access to medical services, and it takes many patients more than an hour to get to the nearest hospital.
In these two districts (Zawya and Ghat), Helpcode has begun a project aimed at improving access to basic medical services and improving living conditions for the local and migrant population. The actions implemented so far toward this goal are:
- rehabilitation of 4 hospitals and 3 primary care centres between Zawya and Ghat;
- supply of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and consumables for providing new treatment services and improving those already offered by the existing medical centres;
- training for Libyan doctors and nurses under the supervision of the staff of Gaslini Hospital in Genoa (the technical partner in the project).
In this way the population of the Zawya and Ghat districts will be provided with improved access to quality medical services and care. There will be a special focus on particularly vulnerable groups, such as internal displaced persons, returnees (Libyan citizens who have emigrated and returned to the country), pregnant women, babies and children.
In view of the inaccessibility of these areas to international organisations, Helpcode works in partnership with the local NGO ODP (Organisation of Development Pioneers), which works all over Libya and has experience in emergency response, rehabilitation and humanitarian protection.
Staff security, planning of movements and monitoring of the work will be guaranteed and managed remotely via the GINA app.