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Refugee Access to Surgical Care in Lebanon: A Post Hoc Analysis of the SCAR Study

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  • Majed W El Hechi
  • Jawad M Khalifeh
  • Elie P Ramly
  • Joana Abed Elahad
  • Alexander Bonde
  • George C Velmahos
  • Jamal J Hoballah
  • Haytham M A Kaafarani
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BACKGROUND: Lebanon hosts an estimated one million Syrian refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR contracts with select Lebanese hospitals to provide affordable primary and emergency care to refugees. We aimed to assess the surgical capabilities of UNHCR-affiliated hospitals in Lebanon.

METHODS: Cross-sectional data from the Surgical Capacity in Areas with Refugees study were combined with hospital affiliation data obtained from the UNHCR. The Surgical Capacity in Areas with Refugees study evaluated surgical capacity in Lebanon by mapping all acute care hospitals and administering the five domain Personnel, Infrastructure, Procedures, Equipment, and Supplies (PIPES) tool to each hospital. Mean PIPES indices and mean numbers of hospital beds, surgeons, and anesthesiologists were compared between UNHCR-affiliated and nonaffiliated hospitals. Geographically, the distribution of UNHCR-affiliated hospitals was cross-referenced with refugee population distributions.

RESULTS: One hundred and twenty nine hospitals were included, 35 (27.1%) of which were affiliated with the UNHCR. The PIPES tool was administered across all hospitals. Mean PIPES indices and mean number of hospital beds, general surgeons, and anesthesiologists were similar between UNHCR-affiliated and nonaffiliated hospitals. Geographical mapping of hospitals and refugee populations across Lebanon revealed a disparity in the Northeastern region of the country: that region had the highest number of refugees but lacked sufficient UNHCR coverage.

CONCLUSIONS: Hospitals covered by the UNHCR performed similarly to nonaffiliated hospitals with respect to all aspects of the PIPES surgical capacity tool. However, there is a concerning geographic mismatch between UNHCR coverage and refugee density, specifically in the governorates of Akkar, Bekaa, and Baalbek-Hermel.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of surgical research
Volume240
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
ISSN0022-4804
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

ID: 58123890