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Lebanon’s Economic Crisis by Sector: Reforming the Healthcare System

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More than half of the Lebanese population does not currently benefit from any form of healthcare coverage, limiting access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare services and increasing out-of-pocket expenditures to more than 85%. The World Bank has described the current crisis as one of the top 10 most significant global crises since the mid-19th century, with inflation reaching 172% in 2023. The crisis only exacerbated an already overstretched healthcare sector and impacted the ability of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to provide adequate social protection and healthcare coverage. Efforts, such as the launch of the Ministry of Public Health’s (MoPH) ‘Vision: Health Strategy 2030’ and the draft law for universal health coverage (UHC), have sought to revitalize the healthcare sector. However, these efforts remain fragmented and futile. With no political commitment/action or tangible solutions, the cumulative crises will continue to hinder any efforts toward reforming the healthcare system into one that is more fair and efficient. More importantly, healthcare services are projected to become unaffordable to thousands of Lebanese, which will have implications for population health outcomes in the near future.

A closed expert roundtable was held to unpack the healthcare system’s challenges and discuss the way forward, providing the base for this publication. The roundtable hosted stakeholders from various sectors and multi-disciplinary backgrounds. Stakeholders deliberated about the bottlenecks of the healthcare system and mapped out tangible and implementable recommendations to instigate change. Elements of this policy brief are based on the findings from the policy dialogue.

Fadi El-Jardali (Ph.D., MPH), Founder & Director of the Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Evidence-Informed Policy and Practice, Co-Director of the Center for Systematic Reviews in Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK), and an Adjunct Professor at McMaster University in Canada.

Reem Masri (LD, RD, MPH) is an Evidence Lead Specialist at the Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center at the American University of Beirut.

Zeina Sleem (MPH) is an Evidence Lead Specialist at the Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center at the American University of Beirut

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