The recent turmoil in Libya pushed the healthcare system beyond breaking point; many hospitals, clinics and ambulances were destroyed, others were not sufficiently equipped to cope with the demand for medical care and medical supplies were running out.
As the events evolved the hospitals were overwhelmed by the large number of casualties. According to official statistics, more than 15,000 people in Central and Western Libya were wounded and journalistic estimates put the number of death around 30,000.
In June 2011 HCI shipped a container of medical equipment and supplies from Canada to Libya’s Benghazi port with the help of the British Columbia Campaign for Libya. Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city had become a regional hub for health and medical supplies. Furthermore, many of the war-injured were brought to the city for treatment.
HCI’s ground-team worked in coordination with local committees, local hospitals, tribal leaders, as well as with local and international aid agencies to make sure the medical supplies were distributed quickly and efficiently where they were most needed.
The medical equipment included an autoclave, four ultrasound monitors, a dental film processor, two digital water baths, an automatic battery charger, astand for an x-ray film processor, a blood glucose meter and one screen among others. The medical supplies included catheters, surgical gloves, urinalysis kits and gauze among others. In addition, technical specialists were brought in to help install and operate the equipment.
The shipment also included 300 family packages for children including clothes, toys and blankets, 83 wheel chairs (15 among them are electric chairs), and a child’s bed. The items were distributed mainly in Benghazi, Misrata, and Sabha cities.
The medical supplies HCI made available helped prevent the hospitals from running out of simple but essential supplies such as gauze and cotton.The supplies were used to treat thousands injured with cuts and bruises as well as in surgical procedures for those suffering from more severe injuries from gun shots, shrapnel and other intensive treatments.
In Benghazi city, the medical supplies and equipment were distributed in the Al-Jalaa and the Al Hawary hospitals. The wheelchairs were delivered to local disability-focused NGOs to be distributed to cases most in need. 100 vulnerable families in Benghazi also received packages of children’s clothes, toys and blankets.
HCI also supported Misrata city which was suffering from shortages of medical supplies; together with our partners we shipped medical supplies and equipment as well as family packages containing children’s clothes, toys and blankets by boat to Misrata.
HCI supported Kasr Ahmed, Abbad, Al Hikma and Central Misrata hospitals in Misrata in addition to distributing 100 packages of children’s clothes, toys and blankets to displaced families living in the camps around Misrata city.
We also succeeded in reaching Sabha city which is in south-central Libya, 784 km away from Benghazi and inhabited by 7.8% of the Libyan population where we also distributed 100 packages of clothes and toys to children of martyrs.
HCI’s assistance has already reached thousands of people inside and outside the country however, many more Libyans are in need of our help. A large percentage of Libya’s 6 million strong population is recovering from a major humanitarian crisis.