By Libya Herald staff.
Benghazi, 25 May 2015:
The government has agreed to a request from Benghazi Municipal Council for a new Accident and . . .[restrict]Emergency hospital in the city. Approval was given on Saturday at the cabinet meeting in Beida.
In a letter to the Thinni government two days earlier, the Mayor of Benghazi, Omar Barasi, had said that the city needed a new hospital, which it said should to be built away from any residential areas. The Health Ministry should also decide its specifications.
The request for a new facility, which would also have a burns unit and a trauma centre, is seen as a response to the fighting in the city. There are only two hospitals operating at present – Jalaa Hospital and Benghazi Medical Centre. Hawari Hospital, Jumhuriya Hospital, the 7 October Hospital (also known as 23 July Hospital) and several private clinics are closed and large numbers of medical staff, particularly Filipino and Indian nurses, have been forced to leave the country because of the dangers. In any event, most residents in the city opt to travel to Tunisia, Turkey or Egypt for treatment that is not urgently required.
It is no surprise that the request was given the go-ahead by the government. Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni had already said that rebuilding Benghazi was a top priority. At the same cabinet meeting, it approved an initial allocation of half a million dinars to help displaced Benghazi families return to their homes. Many have been destroyed in the fighting in Benghazi.
The funds will come from the 2015 budget.
The Cabinet has also endorsed the purchase of land in Benghazi to build a new sewage treatment plant.
The big question regarding the hospital is whether the money will be available for it. The government is strapped for cash at present, and it is highly unlikely it will have access to sufficient funds to build any new hospitals for some time to come. An alternative would be to allow a foreign hospital company to operate but a similar proposal two years ago were fiercely opposed by local doctors and came to nothing.
Given the lack of funding, Saturday’s hospital; decision is seen as an approval in principle but that nothing will happen at present.
Meanwhile, there is talk of reopening Hawari Hospital at the earliest. The LNA now controls the area but it is not safe. [/restrict]