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As part of its community outreach activities, the Refugee Health Program (RHP) at AUB’s Global Health Institute (GHI) organized a Refugee Health Day on June 20, 2018, coinciding with World Refugee Day. The health day, which took place at Al Omariyeh Refugee Camp in Zahle, Lebanon, was a collaboration between the RHP, the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), and BEYOND Association.
This year, more than 40 health professionals, including medical doctors, nurses, and students, volunteered on Refugee Health Day to examine and provide health information to over 250 refugees. The volunteers came from different universities across Lebanon, including AUB, the Beirut Arab University, the Lebanese American University, the University of Balamand, and the University Saint Joseph.
During the event, men, women, and children were offered free medical consultations and health advice. A maternal and child health booth targeted women’s health and pediatric care and was complemented by a provision of vaccines by BEYOND Association. As part of the activities of the booth on mental health, refugees were trained on ways to cope with stress and detect depression. A booth on communicable disease prevention offered basic hygiene advice and targeted the most prevalent infectious diseases including lice, scabies, and tuberculosis. Adults also had their blood pressure and glucose level measured, complemented by adequate awareness on hypertension and diabetes. Visitors of the health lifestyle booth obtained advice on the harmful effects of smoking as well as important nutrition tips. As a way to promote physical activity, children and adolescents were invited to participate in entertaining health games and physical activities.
“The RHP team is currently working on developing a plan to enhance the continuity and sustainability of such community services,” said Dr. Mona Osman, Refugee Health Program co-director.
“This refugee health day is a perfect example of how institutions from different sectors can join efforts to serve the refugees,” said CEO of BEYOND Association Maria Assi.
Remarkable community engagement was noted throughout refugee health day, with children performing health-related songs and adolescents reflecting on how they perceive health through drawings. Refugees concluded the day by leaving their fingerprints on a banner confirming their right to access healthcare.
The Refugee Health Day is an annual event of the Refugee Health Program at the GHI. It is among the different outreach activities of the program. The program constitutes a platform for capacity building, outreach, and research vis-à-vis the impact of protracted crises on the health and well-being of displaced populations and their host communities in the region.
GHI at AUB addresses health challenges with a focus on context and sustainable impact by employing an interdisciplinary approach. The AUBMC is dedicated to the pursuit of improving the health of the community in Lebanon and the region. BEYOND Association is a non-governmental organization aiming at promoting social, economic, cultural, educational, environment, and health issues among several underprivileged groups.