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The Philippines last Thursday (July 31st) started evacuating 13,000 of its nationals from Libya after a Filipino worker was kidnapped and beheaded in Benghazi and a nurse was raped at a Tripoli hospital.
Libya’s health ministry has warned of a complete collapse of the country’s health care system because the security chaos is threatening the evacuation of many foreign health workers.
Workers from the Philippines make up 60 per cent of Libya’s hospital staff. Personnel from India account for another 20 per cent.
“Al-Joumhouria Hospital’s maternity ward is now facing an acute shortage of medical staff, with only five doctors, instead of 12, working at the night shift given the bad conditions at the hospital and despite the increased number of patients,” said Dr Naima al-Fitouri, who works at the Benghazi-based hospital.
She added that the hospital was the only one serving the entirety of eastern Libya and was facing a shortage of medical supplies. “This is in addition to the old medical facilities and bad security,” the doctor said.
“What made matters even worse is the bad treatment we receive from the companions of patients whenever the operation of someone is postponed or when they don’t find integrated services due to the bad condition of the hospital, they just vent their anger on poor doctors, cursing, insulting and even beating them,” she said.
In her turn, Asmaa Atia, a 32-year-old gynaecologist, said: “We as female doctors, especially at the maternity ward, are facing a terrible situation there is a shortage of everything.”
“We also work too much, with four doctors working on six emergency caesareans and two or three abortions, not to mention the complex deliveries and other cases that need concentration, coupled with shortage of medical equipment,” she continued. “Meanwhile, the health ministry is not providing us with any solutions.”
According to Amal Mansour, a 26-year-old patient from Shahat receiving treatment at a Benghazi hospital for a blood disease, the nursing shortage was “a very big problem, especially when there are battles and clashes on the streets, which make it difficult for nurses and doctors to get out of their homes to go to hospitals”.
“In the past, when I had a chemotherapy session, I would find the nurses waiting for me. As to now, the head of department tells me to just wait and if a nurse comes, I will take the session, and if not, they won’t be able to give it to me,” Mansour added. “This is how the health care is in my country now.”
Source : Magharebia