Health & Nutrition

UNICEF’s Health and Nutrition programme aims to highlight and boost ways that children and mothers can benefit from healthcare assistance and improve their diets to avoid preventable diseases.

Baby getting polio vaccine in a polio campain by UNICEF.
Joe Saade

Challenge

Eight years into the Syrian crisis and despite the strong national health response strategy, the MoPH PHC network is still at risk of not reaching the most in need population. The protracted emergency situation, with around 1.5 million displaced Syrians living in Lebanon, and the economic crisis are resulting in complex and fragile settings.

The Primary Health Centers system is fatigued and overwhelmed by the dramatic population increase, while the quality of care is yet challenged. Inequities elevated on crucial issues such as immunization, or access to quality antenatal care.

Considering these issues, the risks of malnutrition and disease for young mothers and their newborn children are significantly higher. The burden of these risks also affects the family’s lifestyle and opportunities, both in regards to employment and socially.

In Lebanon, vaccine-preventable disease prevalence has been minimal. Thus, certain sectors of the population rely on mop-up immunization campaigns, when risks are rising. The massive influx and presence of refugees being assisted through humanitarian aid in PHCs have diverted Lebanese communities from public services to attend private services.

A mother carrying her child in an informal settlement; Saadneyel.
UNICEFLebanon2015/YaraMousawi

All mothers and their children have the right to access proper healthcare and a healthy diet, as well as appropriate education, to live more beneficially, regardless of age and ethnicity.

Solution

All risks as mentioned earlier are interrelated, and are being addressed by the following concepts:

  • Strengthening the supply chain system of the MoPH and the UNRWA and securing the procurement of quality essential commodities and vaccines, including waste management.
  • Providing awareness and education to mothers in every community, including refugees, on proper feeding techniques and requirements to access appropriate immunization against diseases.
  • All mothers and their children have the right to access proper healthcare and a healthy diet, as well as appropriate education, to live more beneficially, regardless of age and ethnicity.
  • Identifying and reaching the children who are most at-risk and bringing them back to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Public Health Centers (PHC) to receive quality vaccination.

    Our Key Achievements

  • Education on Nutrition and Health-Care: within the scope of achieving the Second Standard Developmental Goal to End Hunger (SDG 2), UNICEF Lebanon, MoPH, and some NGOs have devised special programs specific to meeting the proper responses
  • Accelerated Immunization Activities (AIA): under the MoPH leadership, and in context of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP), UNICEF Lebanon collaborates with partners including local and international NGOs, as well other UN agencies such as WHO and UNHCR, to provide quality immunization services to every child through the Primary health care system in Lebanon.
  • Engage Community and restore PHCs, as the epicenter of quality health services in Lebanon: UNICEF, with the MoPH and its partners, has focused in involving municipalities and communities to identify the most at-risk children and makes the right to immunization a reality for their people.