For residents of Deir Qanoun el Nahr in southern Lebanon, a scarcity of healthcare infrastructure meant those with more serious conditions were forced to use expensive private-sector clinics or travel long distances to receive treatment. This situation led directly to increased financial burdens and higher mortality rates.
ACTED worked with the municipality, civil society organizations and residents to develop a framework of action which gave a concrete timeline for equipping and staffing the existing primary healthcare center (PHC). The project represents a true success for the power of locally-management development initiatives.
Located on a vast plateau just south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon, the town of Deir Qanoun el Nahr offers visitors enchanting scenes of nature, clean air, glorious archaeology and warm residents. Its name translated means ‘Order’, and quite aptly, the town is characterized by a clean simplicity of organisation. However, residents continue to face a multitude of challenges inhibiting local development, especially in the education and health sectors.
The town can only lay claim to a single primary healthcare center (PHC). There, residents and refugees can access medicines at half price their market price. However, the drugs on offer exclude those meant for the treatment of chronic diseases.
While the PHC provides a crucial service, residents who need more specialized care, such as would require a mobile clinic, hospital, addiction treatment center, or a mental health facility face extremely limited options. The lack of options forces them to resort to private clinics and hospitals far out of town, which obviously has an impact on their health and finances.
The municipality of Deir Qanoun el Nahr recently began conducting participatory meetings attended by over 40 local actors and experts across all sectors, brought together by a shared desire to participate and foster positive change.
Seeing the huge potential of such meetings, ACTED launched its flagship EU-funded TA’CIR project, as a means to support this existing initiative. According to the mayor, at a time when their community was generating ideas to solve existing challenges, TA’CIR came to the rescue.
At all times, we have had the ideas and the human resources to implement local development initiatives, while being unable to bridge the gaps or develop the necessary planning. This is where TA’CIR played an essential role.
The TA’CIR project helped give structure and direction to the momentum of the community led-movement. ACTED organized dialogue sessions, workshops and inclusive community gatherings bringing together a large number of key stakeholders across a multitude of sectors at the local level, to discuss challenges and engage in problem solving. The municipality participated in the discussions that led to the formulation of the Municipal Plan, a document that outlines priority interventions for the town in line with the residents’ needs, beyond infrastructure. This led directly to the setting of targets, which included: the provision of necessary medical equipment to the PHC, the recruitment of health experts, the provision of medicines for chronic diseases, and the establishment of an awareness-raising health center.
Crucially, the municipality is now working to a clear set of goals within an agreed timeline, and is accountable to the local community to achieve these goals.
Through ACTED’s financial support, the health sector of Deir Qanoun is witnessing sustainable improvements, thus raising the health situation of all its residents including refugees.
TACIR is building the self-confidence of our society by pushing communities to become more open and engaged when dealing with challenges. Working groups and discussions that bring together all members of the community is the most fundamental pillar of local development.