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SATURDAY, 19 APR 2014
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Ministry launches third stage of primary health care plan
File - Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
File - Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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BEIRUT: The Health Ministry launched the third stage of a program Thursday that aims at adopting a unified mechanism to provide primary health care across the country.

The third stage was launched with cooperation from the organization Accreditation Canada at a conference attended by officials, employees and social workers from primary care health centers in Lebanon.

Caretaker Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil was represented at the event by Walid Ammar, the general director of the ministry, who said the conference participants along with ministry officials have been persistent in their aim to consolidate primary health care.

He added that Lebanon qualified to attend the golden jubilee of the Alma Ata Declaration this year to address the issue with the international community, the only country in the Middle East to do so. The declaration underlined the need to protect and promote health care for all and was adopted by member countries of the World Health Organization at the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Kazakhstan in 1978.

The declaration urged governments, international agencies like WHO and UNICEF, multilateral and bilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations, funding agencies, health workers and the international community to commit to primary health care and to help the health sectors of developing countries financially and technically.

The need for universal primary health care has been adopted by many United Nations member countries, including Lebanon.

Accreditation Canada is a nonprofit, independent organization accredited by the International Society for Quality in Health Care. They provide national and international health care organizations with an external peer review process to assess and improve the services they provide to their patients and clients. The organization’s programs have helped many countries promote quality health care for over 50 years.

The ministry said that cooperation with the Canadian organization in the implementation of the third stage of the project ultimately build up local capabilities, so that Lebanon’s primary health care sector can eventually be self-sustaining.

According to the head of the Primary Health Care Department in the Health Ministry, Randa Hamadeh, 60 primary health care centers were chosen across the country to receive training, but only the best 36 of them will be eligible to become primary health care centers. Their eligibility will be assessed according to how well they adhere to international standards for primary health.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 13, 2013, on page 4.
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