BEIRUT, June 30, (KUNA): Lebanon’s health sector is suffering the impact of the deteriorating economic conditions and the drop of the local currency against the US dollar (USD), leading many doctors and medical staff to immigrate in search of a better life. Lebanese hospitals lost their best doctors and nurses, while there is also a lack of medical equipment. Medical services were strongly affected by the immigration of experienced and specialized doctors. For example, when a specialist technician who worked on a liver transplant device left the country, it caused all medical operations related to that technician to stop, head of Lebanon’s Doctors Syndicate Dr. Sharaf Abu Sharaf told KUNA on Wednesday. He said the number of doctors who immigrated since the beginning of the economic crisis reached over 1,200. He added that another reason they leave is the lack of laws that protect them against the violence and insults they face at work.
Doctors’ salaries are very low and some are almost working free, while others who had collected money over the long years of work are unable to use it as banks froze their money. Western and Arab countries are always welcoming Lebanese doctors due to their experience and qualifications, Abu Sharaf noted. The lack of equipment and medical products prevented many patients from taking medical tests in laboratories. Hospitals are only dealing with urgent cases now, while those who need a checkup or a routine test need to wait for a long time until they can take one, he said. On her part, radiology diagnosis specialist Dr. Petra Al-Jameel said that most immigrant doctors are top European, Canadian universities, and US graduates. These doctors used to perform difficult operations and they are hard to replace, she explained.