Every year in Lebanon, 70,000 babies are born, of which 12% or 9,000 are premature. When you add another 9,000 premature babies in 2015 from the Syrian refugees, the total number of premature-born babies on Lebanese soil amounts to 18,000! Quite a staggering number that Lebanese people are not aware of.
The cost for treating a premature baby in Private Hospitals varies between $20,000 and $30,000. Moreover Private Hospitals tend not to accept patients covered by the Daman or the Wizara especially when treatments are complex or long time consuming. There are, however, only two government hospitals accredited in Beirut and greater Beirut to cater to such cases: The Hariri Hospital and the Baabda Hospital. Unfortunately, both do not carry enough specialized functioning medical equipment and staff to handle such a high number of patients. Tough challenges ahead the key challenge is to create adequate facilities that will ensure the current and future Lebanese new born and premature babies to receive the right level of specialized care.
Delivering on our mission
B&B needed first and foremost to partner with an existing government hospital. B&B negotiated to take over the old ward of the Quarantina Hospital, which is servicing more than 500,000 people living in its seven neighborhoods, of which 30% are children. While renovating the ward with the latest equipment and pre-natal service facilities through the “Carlos slim foundation” and the “Give a child a toy association”, B&B have signed strategic alliances with the St. Georges Orthodox Hospital and Balamand University, to help transform the Quarantina Ward into the first ever Government university Hospital in Lebanon: “The Carlos Slim Center for children” and the largest of its kind.
Tough challenges ahead
The key challenge to ensure our current and future Lebanese premature babies receive the right level of specialized care is the financial sustainability of our project. It is important for the “Carlos Slim center for Children” not to rely solely on the very limited financial resources of the government, otherwise the level of care will dwindle, a catastrophic scenario, given that those babies are placed in Premature Intensive Care treatment. Hence “Contributions from the private sector and individual citizens become a necessity”.