Libyan Health Minister and Russian Ambassador Discuss Healthcare Collaboration
Exploring New Avenues of Cooperation
The Acting Minister of Health and Deputy Prime Minister of Libya, Ramadan Abu Janah, recently held discussions with the Russian Ambassador to Libya, Aydar Rashid Abdullah Aganin. The main focus of the meeting was to explore potential avenues for cooperation between Libya and Russia across various fields, with a particular emphasis on the healthcare sector.
The officials discussed the potential role of the Russian Ministry of Health in localizing medical treatment within Libya and explored potential collaborations between the Libyan and Russian health departments. This is part of a broader effort to improve healthcare standards in Libya, a nation that has been grappling with significant challenges in this sector.
Revitalizing Libya’s Healthcare System
Several initiatives are currently underway to breathe new life into the healthcare system in Libya. The Ministry of Health has implemented its first medical tender since 2009, signaling an end to the influx of counterfeit medicines in the country. Furthermore, medical teams from Egypt and Spain have arrived in Tripoli to treat security forces injured in recent conflicts.
In addition, several healthcare facilities have resumed operations after a pause of ten years. These include Al-Khadra hospital’s Eye Clinic, which has reopened, and the hospital has also resumed keyhole knee surgery, and artificial joints operations. Efforts at the localization of healthcare have led to several new services being inaugurated.
The Role of International Cooperation
An Italian medical team is visiting Libyan hospitals across the country, and medical experts from Egypt and Jordan have recently conducted successful operations. The Ministry of Health is also planning to launch a national strategy for 2023-2028, and discussions are being held with Jordan to localize autism treatment in Libya.
In another positive development, the Libyan Turkish Hospital in Misrata has opened, setting new healthcare standards for the nation. The National Centre for Health System Reform (NCHSR) is holding workshops aimed at further developing the Libyan health system.
Challenges and Future Plans
Despite these positive developments, challenges persist. The Tripoli University Hospital is grappling with a lack of budget and significant debts, with operations continuing mostly through private donations. Despite the difficulties, the hospital’s Orthopaedic Department has launched a remote educational service, and a contract has been signed with an Italian company for infrastructure maintenance.
The hospital is also planning to recruit 850 foreign nurses, including 150 from the Philippines in the first phase. The Tripoli Medical Centre has been converted into an independent university hospital under the direct control of the Presidential Council (PC), with a new head appointed as part of the ongoing health reform programme. An Austrian medical services company, Vamed, has also signed a maintenance contract with the Tripoli Medical Centre.
While Libya’s healthcare sector is facing significant challenges, multiple initiatives are underway to reform and improve the system, with international cooperation playing a key role in these efforts. The engagement with Russia, the arrival of foreign medical teams, the reopening of key healthcare facilities, and the recruitment of foreign nurses all indicate a concerted effort towards healthcare reform in Libya.
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