Imagine living in a very remote place with no hospitals close by, no first aid, not enough doctors, and having to wait for weeks at a time to have a health check. Imagine a father who must travel more than 390 km during the night just to procure an X-ray for his son’s fractured hand. Worse still, imagine a pregnant woman in urgent need of medical attention, and who has to travel more than 350km to reach the closest hospital, thereby endangering the life of her unborn baby. These are exactly the daily happenings in Ghat, according to documented cases.
“The health system in Ghat, a city in southwestern Libya, is very deficient,” says Romdan Alythni Alwoli, Head of Health Services Office in Ghat. “The deficiency includes a lack of primary health and care services, very few doctors in hospitals, facilities that are in an urgent need of rehabilitation, and a severe shortage in financial resources. Efforts must be concentrated on rebuilding the devastated health system.”
Libyan local authorities are currently unable to provide numerous necessary medical services thoughout the country, leaving many locals, especially in the remote places, suffering beyond description. This situation prompted Helpcode and the Organisation of Development Pioneers (ODP), in coordination with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), to implement the project ‘Restoring quality health care services in Zawia and Ghat Districts in Libya’, developed under the framework of the programme Baladiyati, funded by the European Union under the EU Trust Fund for Africa.
“It is a promising project which will provide primary health care services to more than 30,000 people in Ghat,” says Alythni. “The facilities were carefully chosen for the particular purpose of the project’s services to reach the largest possible number of people, and thereby enhancing the whole health system in Ghat. Providing first aid and constant attention to the patients will hopefully save lives and reduce the burden of traveling miles to get essential medical care.”
In addition to providing medical services, the project, which is targeting six health facilities in both Zawia and Ghat, also aims at rehabilitating and maintaining the health facilities and buildings, supplying medical equipment, and training medical staff.
Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped onto water, Alythni and the people working on the project know that the actions of a few individuals can have far-reaching effects in rebuilding a better future in and for Libya. Furthermore, mutual efforts and cooperation between the governmental sectors, local communities, civil societies, international organizations, and individuals also play a major role in achieving change.