An Overview of Lebanon's Health System

In 1975, civil war in Lebanon exhausted the once superior Lebanese national health system, reformatting the organizational structure of the healthcare system into public and private sectors. Since the 70s, Lebanon has struggled with many hardships. Currently, nongovernmental organizations and the Ministry of Health are working together tirelessly to support the influx of Syrian refugees. The constant pressures of current events create an ever-growing urgency for new healthcare provisions in Lebanon.

The civil war triggered a financial crisis in Lebanon limiting access to healthcare for Lebanon’s people. Due to their climate, economic status and other factors, the Lebanese population’s risk for infectious diseases, such as measles, is high. In addition, the rate of chronic degenerative diseases, such as heart disease is high – thus causing a disproportionately high overall burden of disease compared to similar countries. This burden directed the Ministry of Health’s attention towards addressing health determinants, including the environment, food safety, sustainable development, lifestyles, and nutrition. This spotlight on the previously mentioned improvements strengthened the health governance and the countries overall institutional capacity. An emphasis on fostering private partnerships to create and apply well thought-out health curriculum is also on the Ministry of Health’s list of reform achievements.

Recent studies show that many of the health issues seen in the Lebanese population are directly linked to behaviors such as a lack of physical activity, increased technology usage, unhealthy diets, high alcohol and drug usage, and recreational choices that lead to violence. Beginning in 1987, Lebanon integrated a health component curriculum into its education system. However, a survey conducted by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health showed that there is room to add significant improvements in the health education of Lebanon’s youth; Twenty-nine percent of the youth population surveyed used alcohol, 10% showed indications of low-level hygiene practices, 31% of the youth population was overweight, and 15% had low mental health. Early health education is a proven contributing factor to a healthier population. With the help of organizations like Box for Health, oral, and general health curriculum in Lebanon’s education system will continue to improve.

Through needs-based assessments, Box for Health’s health curriculum development focuses on general health, oral health, anti-smoking education, and nutrition, with the goal of empowering the youth to lead healthy lives. There are currently 399,000 children in Lebanese schools. Giving youth access to basic tools to maintain their personal health will allow their focus to point towards their personal dreams and their potential for a healthy, fulfilling life. Box for Health will be teaching primary age children, ages 5 to 11. Healthy practices started at a young age will have an impact throughout the entire life of these children.



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