Throughout the pandemic,
But the hospital doesn't just care for the patients within its walls. It also provides ongoing chronic disease care to patients who rely on the hospital for their treatment.
"The majority of the patients who are treated here are of the medium and low economic class," said Dr.
Before the economic crisis, Covid-19, and the 2020 Beirut port explosion rocked
Hospitals and primary care centers were badly damaged by the
And medications - particularly those for chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension - are harder to come by.
"For most chronic disease medicine, there is a waiting game," said Zayat. "People who can buy the medicine are buying it in increased quantities because they're afraid of the shortages."
Zayat said that, when she recently needed a medication, she had to drive more than an hour outside
People who can afford it are buying the medications on the illegal market or asking friends to send it from other countries, according to Zayat. But as more and more of the country falls into poverty - currently more than half of
"People are getting poorer by the minute," Zayat said.
To allay shortages, Direct Relief, working with the company Eli Lilly, recently supplied 35,000 vials of insulin to
In addition, 28,500 vials of insulin, donated by
The insulin donations will reach hospitals (including
"There's an increased need to support primary care centers...because these are being used more," she said. People who might previously have seen a private doctor will come to a health center because "they lost their jobs, they lost their insurance, they lost their social security."
Not having access to insulin is dangerous, and Atat explained that some people have ended up in hospitals because of it. "If they do not take their medication, 100% they will end up in the hospital," she said. At a moment when
But Atat explained that the donations of insulin from NGOs, including Direct Relief, have made a significant difference. "Given these donations, we expect that people should not suffer from not having insulin," she said.
Echtay, too, said that donations have played an important role in allowing
"The donations that are given to the hospital...play a major role in supporting the hospital - to do and continue to do its job," he said.