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Lebanese Association of the Order intensifies its medical assistance on the Syrian border

Sep 26, 2013
The Khaldieh Medical Centre at the service of Syrian refugees

Located not 40 kilometres from the Syrian border, the Khaldieh Medical Centre is on the same latitude as the Syrian town of Homs, the heart of the early clashes that inflamed Syria in March 2012. Khaldieh is where thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing their country arrived during those early stages of the conflict. To cope with the emergency, the Lebanese Association of the Sovereign Order of Malta – which supports the medical centre through the congregation of the Antonine Sisters – stepped up its aid, which ranges from cardiology and endocrinology to pediatrics and gynaecology, and started a vaccination and health awareness campaign for the many refugees.

Every day about 100 patients go to the Khaldieh Centre for medical treatment. On some days the number rises drastically. The number of visits is linked to the presence of certain specialists. On the days when the Centre offers gynaecological care, the number of Muslim women – including Syrian refugees as well – greatly increases. Many have fled the country with many children, or are pregnant and require special care. So the Centre places at their disposal a large number of female physicians, to meet the special needs of the Muslim culture.

The Syrian refugees who are camped out in the vicinity of the Khaldieh Medical Centre receive food aid, medical products, blankets and mattresses. Around 800,000 Syrian refugees are registered throughout the country, but total estimates reach 1,500,000. There are about 40 families – each with an average of 5 members – who patiently wait their turn to receive humanitarian aid in just one day of distribution: pasta, rice, oil, sugar, water for dissolving powdered milk for infants, detergents, toothbrushes, sponges, nappies.  >

The government in Beirut has accredited the Khaldieh Centre - the first on the list of over 40 medical centres analysed throughout the country – in recognition of its efficiency and the kindness and care of the staff, and the level of services it offers

Nine centres in remote locations

In this country known for its cedar trees, the Order of Malta Lebanese Association runs another nine socio-medical centres. Many are in remote locations often without healthcare services and populated by elderly residents. It is a widespread presence that goes from the north to the south of the country. It embraces different faiths and denominations, as seen in the close collaboration between the Order and the Shiite foundation Al-Sadr in Sidon which for years has been a point of reference for both Christians and Muslims. It is precisely its ability to communicate with different religions and to help one’s fellow man without distinction of faith and origin that “has allowed the Order of Malta to be appreciated by the entire community,” explained Monsignor Gabriele Caccia, the Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon, recently. “They bear witness to Christian values,” the Nuncio added. “The Order of Malta sets an example of efficiency for the entire Middle East.”

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