By Dr. Mehnaz Mehboob, April 2019
As I wrap up a successful April 2019 MedGlobal Medical Mission to #Lebanon, I would like to make the case for better Rheumatology care for the #refugee population, not only in Lebanon but around the globe.
I practice both Family Medicine and Rheumatology in the UK, but I predominantly saw Rheumatology patients during this mission. The dedicated team at MAPs (Multi Aid Programs) identified and registered patients to be seen by me. From patients waiting to be diagnosed and treated for months to those with chronic diseases waiting to see a Rheumatologist for years, I saw it all.
I worked at MAPS, supporting Ghiras Al-Khair center in Chtaura and a center in Arsal, a small, underserved, and deprived town in the north of Lebanon, a few kilometers from the Syrian border and home to thousands of Syrian refugees. I was told that it was rare for this population to see a Rheumatologist, yet I had a number of patients who were in the immediate and ongoing need for Rheumatological care.
Local NGOs like MAPS are doing their best in providing free or subsidized medical care to the deserving refugee population. This noble work can only continue if we donate and raise funds for such organizations so that they can bring specialist care to refugees.
If we want this world to be a safer and happier place for future generations, we need to humanize refugees, rather than giving it digits and numbers, and start taking steps to make them part of the mainstream. We can do this by advocating for refugees, amplifying their voices, and reducing health and education inequality and inequity between them and the rest of the world. We need to donate our time and money towards their better future.