08 March 2021 – Under the patronage of the ministry of Public health in Lebanon, UNICEF and the French Development Agency (AFD) signed today a grant agreement for the renovation and completion of the new building of the Quarantina University public hospital, which was heavily damaged following the Beirut port explosions on August 4, 2020.
The project aims to restore access to essential health care services for vulnerable populations. Through the rehabilitation and operationalization of the new Quarantina Hospital building, the project’s main purpose is to ensure that vulnerable mothers and children have access to quality care at the most critical stages of their life. This project is implemented by UNICEF and funded by France, through AFD (2M EUR). UNICEF has also secured one million USD through a private funding from George and Danielle Boutros.
The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Hamad Hasan stressed on the importance of the completion of the construction and rehabilitation works of the new building of the Quarantina public hospital to serve vulnerable communities who are representing today 60% of the Lebanese population. He also said: “Today, public hospitals are supporting our economy by providing advanced services competing with private hospitals and offering care to all people living in Lebanon”.
Three months after the second international conference on assistance and support for Beirut and the Lebanese people, this funding represents a new milestone for the French contribution to Beirut’s reconstruction, in response to the August 4 port explosion,” said Ms. Anne Grillo, French Ambassador to Lebanon. “In a troubled socio-economic and health context, and through the French Development Agency, France intends to help materialize the access of vulnerable populations to quality healthcare, with a particular effort towards mothers and children. It is in this perspective that France has decided to provide support for the rehabilitation of the Quarantina University public hospital”.
The hospital’s new building will include units for pediatrics, obstetrics and maternity, surgery and intensive care, as well as a primary health care center. Administrative offices and technical areas in the basement will be also added. The hospital will have a capacity of 100 beds, including 80 mothers / children beds and 20 beds for adults.
AFD Country Director Arthur Germond said: “The Quarantina University Public Hospital was particularly damaged by the Beirut port explosions on August 4th 2020. Thanks to this 2 million euros donation, AFD not only supports vulnerable populations by securing their access to high quality healthcare but also contributes to the preservation of an institution that reflects the possible excellence of the Lebanese public sector”.
“Since the devastating blasts, UNICEF and partners have supported thousands of the affected children and families and today’s announcement is part of our long-term commitment to rebuild Beirut,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “The rehabilitation of the new Quarantina Hospital will restore access to quality essential health care services for vulnerable populations, especially protecting newborns while ensuring proper care for their mothers during pregnancy, at delivery time and in the early days after birth. Beyond the rehabilitation of the mother and child hospital, UNICEF is today concerned of alarming signs and higher risk of neonatal mortality, especially among the most vulnerable population and confirms its support to the MoPH to tackle a newborn action plan in Lebanon”.
“The hospital suffered heavy damages following the Beirut port explosions on August 4th,” said Dr. Michel Matar, CEO of the Beirut Quarantine Public Hospital. “This hospital is traditionally renowned for caring and supporting for the most vulnerable patients, regardless of their nationality or religion. It offers the best quality care to adults but above all to seriously ill children and newborns who are transferred to us from across the country. Thanks to the support of UNICEF and AFD, the rehabilitation works can be resu med, which allows us to move forward in accomplishing our mission.
The new Quarantina public hospital, which provided emergency care to 1,000 newborn and children per year before the blast, will service around 500,000 people from vulnerable neighborhoods in Beirut and its suburbs, including 150,000 children. This new capacity will also allow up to 2,000 emergency hospitalizations for vulnerable newborn and children, as well as more than 25,000 mother/child consultations per year. Works are expected to begin in April 2021 and the hospital should be operational by early 2022.
Working in Lebanon for over 70 years, UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF Lebanon and our work for children, visit www.unicef.org/lebanon/
Learn more on the situation of children and UNICEF’s work in Lebanon in 2020:
About the French Development Agency
Agence Française de Développement (AFD) Group implements France’s policy on development and international solidarity. Comprised of AFD, which finances the public sector and NGOs; Proparco, which finances the private sector; and soon, Expertise France for technical cooperation, the Group finances, supports and accelerates transitions towards a more resilient and sustainable world.
We are building – with our partners – shared solutions, with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are active in more than 4,000 projects in the field, in the French overseas departments and some 115 countries, including areas in crisis. We strive to protect the common good – promoting peace, biodiversity and a stable climate, as well as gender equality, health and education. It is our way of contributing to the commitment that France and the French people have made to fulfill the “Sustainable Development Goals”, towards a world in common.
For more information about the AFD, visit www.afd.fr