Lebanon: suicides increase amidst economic crisis

Hospitals without medicines, dialysis at risk

10 June, 16:19

    BEIRUT - Suicides in Lebanon are on the rise amidst the country's dire economic crisis, with two suicides in just the past two days.

    On Thursday morning, a 40-year-old man jumped from an overpass on the freeway that connects Beirut and Tripoli, while on Wednesday a man killed himself near Baalbek, capital of the eastern Bekaa Valley.

    There are now dozens of cases of people who have committed suicide or tried to kill themselves since fall 2019 when the country fell into its greatest financial crisis of the past 30 years.

    The majority of victims are middle-aged, unemployed male heads of household.

    Most are Lebanese but some are also Syrian or Palestinian.

    Their families said the victims were unable to cope with the pressure of their inability to feed their children.

    According to the UN, over half of the population in Lebanon is now living under the poverty line.

    Authorities are unable to guarantee even the most basic necessities of the national health services, such as medicines and hospital supplies.

    In fact, hospitals said they are at risk of no longer being able to provide dialysis services and other medical interventions considered essential.

    Lebanese media reported a press release issued Thursday by the Lebanese hospitals union in which it said "hospitals do not have the material needed to carry out dialysis and may have to suspend dialysis treatments starting next week if equipment is not delivered this week".

    The union statement said clinics "are suffering overall from a severe lack of reagents and equipment needed to carry out laboratory tests and diagnose illnesses".

    "Many hospitals have had to suspend exams and have been forced to reduce the number of patients hospitalised," the statement said.

    On Wednesday evening in Tripoli, in the country's north, the first floor of a hospital was damaged by furious family members of a woman who, even though she needed urgent medical care, was not admitted to the emergency room because the hospital didn't have the supplies it needed to treat her.

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