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Lebanese health

Lebanon’s health services should be given far greater priority in economic recovery policies by donor governments, says new report co-authored at the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Lebanese flag flying over Lebanon.

A new report co-authored by researchers from the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School recommends that health services in Lebanon be given far greater priority in economic recovery and development policies by donor governments.

The report outlines how political decisions have had a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of the Lebanese population, and how the past two years have been especially turbulent given the huge explosion in Beirut in August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and protracted humanitarian issues in neighbouring Syria, which has led to many Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in Lebanon.

The researchers conclude that Lebanon’s current reliance on the private sector for most of its health care services “is now at an end” as it is “unable to respond to health crises or withstand economic shock”, so the report calls instead for a new health care model that balances public and private sector provision.

“(The report) takes a core area of responsibility of the modern state – the health of its population – and tracks how political paralysis and elite insouciance have left the health sector fragmented and devastated,” says a foreword to the report by James Watt, Chairman of the International Advisory Board, Research for Health in Conflict – Middle East and North Africa, and former British Ambassador to Lebanon. “The report deserves full attention from policymakers both in government and among international donors.”

The report, funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and entitled “How Politics Made a Nation Sick: The Political Economy of Health in Lebanon”, was led by researchers at King’s College London, the University of Cambridge and the American University of Beirut. Researchers involved in the report associated with the University of Cambridge include Dr Adam P Coutts, Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology; Professor Simon Deakin, Director of the Centre for Business Research; and Dr Adel Daoud, Research Fellow in Political Economy at the Centre for Business Research.