How did the initiative to build a primary healthcare centre come about?
Ramia Assaad: There is a need for a health center because people cannot afford the fees of private doctors and the prices of medicines in the pharmacies. The high prices for transport are another hurdle.
The health sector has been identified as a priority based on the results of a health needs assessment conducted by a local healthcare consulting firm. The study shows that women, children, and the elderly have limited access to primary health care services, especially immunization, counseling, medication, and diagnostic tests. The need to establish a health center was also highlighted through similar studies and focus group discussions conducted by UNICEF, UNDP and others.
To respond to this need, the municipality of Mohammara has established the building of a health center consisting of two floors. Then, the economic crisis began, and the local currency exchange rate collapsed, so the municipality was no longer able to complete the final constructions touches of the first floor neither to equip it.
As a result of the discussions, consultations and workshops that had been conducted between the municipality of Opfenbach and the municipality of Mohammara, it was agreed to support the municipality of Mohammara to establish, equip and operate the health center, and I was appointed to provide technical support to the municipality within this framework and to coordinate between the various parties.
With the help of the joint fund of KfW and the Norwegian Refugee Council, it was possible to continue the construction of the building. My main task at this stage was to ensure that the construction and rehabilitation works are carried out according to the requirements of the Lebanese Ministry of Health. The infrastructure, maps, administrative departments, diagnostic departments and service delivery units to comply with the accreditation standards.
Can you give me an idea of the size of the centre?
Ramia Assaad: It is considered a great centre. I think it will be one of the biggest and most ideal centres in the governorate because all the expertise and many resources have been put into it. The building is two-storey and each floor is about 500 square metres and has 15 rooms. We have a laboratory, radiology, physiotherapy, paediatric consultation, a room for pregnant women, an immunisation room, an emergency room, a mental health room. And we are trying to make it child-friendly. And for mothers, it will be baby-friendly. We will have a special room where mothers can breastfeed their babies. We have also put in a lift so that people with disabilities can reach the two floors. There are about seven counselling rooms. It is also equipped with an emergency exit, a fire alarm system and a solar energy system. To ensure that the center limits the spread of infectious diseases, it has been designed with an external entrance, an isolation unit, a sterilization unit, and a space for medical waste collection.