Benghazi is the second-most populous city in Libya, with an estimated population of 632,937 in 2019. It is also the largest city in the east of the country. The Benghazi Children Hospital is a health facility with infrastructural weaknesses, including obsolete installations and a serious lack of medical equipment and supplies. As a consequence, it remains a challenge for the hospital to provide quality healthcare for its patients.
Ibrahim is an 18-year-old boy from Benghazi whose family struggles to meet their needs. He has been suffering from chronic kidney disease since the age of eight and it has been 10 years since he first started having dialysis sessions three times a week at the Benghazi Children’s Hospital’s Dialysis Department. Sadly, his sister Mariam, who is 10 years old, and his brother Zakariya, seven years old, also suffer from hereditary kidney problems.
Ibrahim was very emotional when he spoke about his 10-year-old sister, who recently had a peritoneal dialysis catheter implanted. The lifespan of this device is between six months and two years, then Mariam will have to go back to the hospital regularly to have the device replaced. Ibrahim’s biggest fear is that his sister might not be able to have this surgical procedure done because of the lack of resources and equipment in hospital. He also adds that “It is very difficult to have such a catheter implanted in Benghazi. I was informed that the only hospital that can offer this type of operation is the Central Tripoli Hospital and you would need very good personal connections in the hospital to receive this care.”
“A kidney transplant for my sister, my brother and myself will allow us to recover from our illnesses, live healthy lives and achieve our dreams,” Ibrahim hopes. These children face a number of barriers to receive their treatments and specialized care. Medicines for chronic pathologies should be taken on a daily basis, however, they are very expensive and not always available at the hospital. There is often a lack of drugs, medical equipment and supplies and this continues to limit children’s access to quality healthcare services.
Despite his illness, Ibrahim does his best to regularly attend classes at school. He always tries to schedule the dialysis sessions around his classes. When he cannot manage to do so, he studies during the weekends to compensate and catch up with his schoolmates. Speaking about his aspirations for the future, he says: “I am passionate about architecture and I want to become an engineer.”
To alleviate the suffering of Ibrahim and many others like him, Première Urgence Internationale (PUI) is part of a consortium, led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and supported by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), to address insufficient health services, high demands and accessibility barriers. Multiple health facilities, including the Benghazi Children’s Hospital, have been targeted by the project: PUI will address the gaps in service availability and readiness by providing building maintenance and rehabilitation, as well as essential equipment.
This story was written by AICS based on content collected on ground by Première Urgence Internationale
Photo credit: Première Urgence Internationale