American University of Beirut

GHI launches the refugee health support project SANADI on World Refugee Day

​​​​​​​​​​Jennifer Muller, Office of Com​munications,​

The Global Health Institute (GHI) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) is pleased to announce the launch of the refugee health support project “SANADI" on June 20, 2019, in recognition of World Refugee Day. This joint project between the Refugee Health Program (RHP) and the Arm for Special Services Initiatives and Support (ASSIST) at GHI, aims to enhance the overall health of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon.

With the Syrian conflict marking its eighth year, refugees in Lebanon are still struggling to meet their basic health needs despite continuous efforts invested by multiple actors. Distance, transportation, and cost are among the many barriers faced by refugees vis-à-vis access to health services. Well-tailored interventions addressing both refugees' health needs and barriers to accessing health services remain necessary and a main responsibility of actors in all sectors including academic, non-governmental, and governmental organizations.

SANADI is a multi-level and multidisciplinary project, led by medical and health experts from AUB GHI and implemented in collaboration with multiple non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with refugees. It aims to create sustainable health outreach and educational activities for refugees, with an ultimate goal of attending to the increasing health needs of the displaced populations residing in Lebanon. It also aims to improve the morbidity outcomes in the midst of widespread vulnerabilities.

“This initiative will open the door to different experts working in health-related fields to have direct interaction with and contribution to vulnerable communities. It will also nurture partnerships between academic and non-governmental organizations to join efforts in delivering on-the-ground support, enhancing as such the resilience of the targeted communities," said GHI founding director, Dr. Shadi Saleh.

The SANADI project consists of two phases: a needs assessment and screening phase, followed by tailored interventions to address the identified needs. The first phase, which is based on a participatory approach with community members, will aid in identifying the priority health needs in the targeted communities. This initial phase will be followed by a more in-depth screening of four main health issues (water and sanitation hygiene, nutrition, mental health, and medical screening). Based on the identi​fied health needs, culturally-sensitive tailored interventions including awareness sessions and diagnostic consultations led by specialists will be implemented.

The SANADI project is envisioned to start from Bekaa and continually expand to other refugee hosting regions in Lebanon. Future efforts will be directed towards the establishment of a network of attainable primary healthcare clinics (PHCs) and NGOs to develop and maintain an efficient referral system for cases examined during the SANADI missions. 

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