Grand Hospitaller visits Order’s projects in Lebanon
The Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Alessandro de Franciscis, paid a visit to Lebanon where he was able to see first-hand some of the most important projects run by the Lebanese Association of the Order of Malta, primarily in the medical and social field. During his stay, he had meetings with the country’s institutional representatives, including the Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the Minister of Public Health Firass Abiad, the Lebanese Army Commander in Chief, General Joseph Aoun and the Apostolic Mgr. Nuncio Paolo Borgia.
On the first day of his stay the Grand Hospitaller visited the camps of Chabrouh and Kfardebian, a unique example of the thousand-year-old mission of care of the Order of Malta. Here the Lebanese Association organises one-week holiday camps throughout the year for the severely mentally and physically disabled people. In 2023 alone, 32 camps for a total of about 600 guests and 900 volunteers are planned. A Mass was celebrated during the visit.
The Grand Hospitaller also visited the St John the Baptist centre, one of the biggest medical centres in Beirut that offers primary healthcare services to the most vulnerable population. The centre – managed by staff of the Order of Malta in the country – includes a state-of-the-art drug warehouse, two medical and dental laboratories, and a training center.
The Mobile Medical Unit in West Beqaa was another stop of the five-day visit. In a country that hosts the biggest number of displaced persons per capita, the Mobile Medical Unit offers a wide range of healthcare services for refugees. Throughout the country, the Lebanese association runs a total of seven mobile medical clinics. The Grand Hospitaller then visited the Community Healthcare Centre (in the same area) managed by the Order where a meeting with religious leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Druse communities as well as with and municipal representatives of the region was held.
The day ended with the visit to one of the five Agro-Humanitarian Centers launched by the Order of Malta in Lebanon amid the ongoing gloomy economic, political and social crisis, which offer services and support to small farmers.
Since 2019, Lebanon has been enduring a humanitarian catastrophe with a progressive deterioration of the health system. The country faces shortages of basic medicines and many people are no longer able to afford medical care. The Order of Malta Lebanon plays a pivotal role in delivering medical and social care to the most vulnerable people and reaches out to the marginalized in all the corners of the country. It runs in total 25 health structures, in addition to providing medical and social care, it carries out awareness and prevention campaigns and support programmes for the elderly.