With our latest project dedicated to training and prevention, we stand beside the most vulnerable people.

The new initiative dedicated to training and prevention

In the Fezzan region together with the Ministries of Health and Education we support a programme to improve the living conditions of vulnerable mothers, adolescent children and elderly people. With this project, we contribute to the Libyan Ministry of Health’s efforts to launch the Primary Health Care Strategy. In particular, we support prevention activities, training, provision of equipment and vaccination programmes to promote healthy lifestyles and ensure proper management to prevent maternal and child diseases and diseases of old age.

Sessions are planned to train teaching staff, doctors and paramedics in the basics of child health in selected schools, supported by a team selected by the relevant authorities. The aim is to empower teachers and strengthen the ability of school health unit staff to facilitate the identification of at-risk health situations among pupils in order to communicate them to families and healthcare providers. To guarantee access to a functional first aid station, basic materials and equipment will be provided. School medicine activities are carried out within the selected schools through a general medicine screening programme aimed at pupils.

Activities to promote a healthy lifestyle

With a focus on women, adolescents, and parents, outreach activities are planned to promote healthy lifestyles to prevent potential problems related to endemic diseases and conditions. The work will focus on the Sebha area and extend to towns including Ubari, Murzuk, Ghat, and Tahala. In particular, it will involve information, education, communication and distribution activities, such as leaflets and brochures, and radio broadcasts.

The project provides refresher and training courses, including in ToT mode (training of trainers) to local medical and paramedical staff in basic maternal and child medicine, and supports the national vaccination programme through the following actions: 

  • the supply of specialised portable chillers for outreach services for health units
  • logistical support for the implementation of the vaccination programme for children under the age of 5 in the Sebha area and the towns of Ubari, Murzuk, and Tahala.

Outreach activities are also planned for the elderly population in Fezzan, implemented by a team from the health units involved, with the aim of promoting healthy lifestyles and increasing the level of prevention of major endemic diseases in old age.

Maintenance work and equipment supply

In order to enable the provision of high-quality maternal and child health services, maintenance, refurbishment and provision of basic medical equipment are also planned for selected healthcare facilities such as the maternal and child health clinic in Sebha, Al-Safia, the maternal and child ward of the Al-Rahma clinic in Sebha, and the dental centre of the Faculty of Dentistry of the Public University of Sebha. Medical equipment and instruments will also be provided to the Department of Ophthalmology at the Al-Rahma Clinic in Sebha to ensure proper management of ophthalmic diseases, with a focus on glaucoma treatment. 

The project to support the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer

In the main hospitals in Libya (Tripoli, Benghazi, Misurata, Sirte, and Sabrata) we support the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) programme for improving the living conditions of paediatric cancer patients. The project aims to ensure the supply of essential medicines and materials to target hospitals in order to treat paediatric cancer patients, developing the skills of healthcare staff working in paediatric oncology to prepare and administer chemotherapy and provide palliative care.

The initiative, part of the three-year agreement of January 2020 between the WHO country office in Libya and the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, involved 722 registered childhood cancer patients in the country. Based on historical data collected by WHO, the number of new cases diagnosed each year in the country is estimated at 374 with leukaemia, lymphoma and renal cancer being the most common cancer diagnoses. The agreement is aimed at developing the capabilities of the medical and nursing staff of the paediatric hospitals in Tripoli and Benghazi in haematology, oncology and other paediatric specialisations. The project joins its counterpart developed in Syria in the university hospitals of Damascus and Aleppo.

By March 2023, 75% of the drugs purchased had arrived at both the Tripoli University Hospital and the Benghazi Children’s Hospital, resulting in 450 paediatric patients receiving treatment. The supply of targeted drugs lasted 18 months and was a crucial, life-saving component of the project. In view of the critical shortage of oncology drugs in Libyan hospitals, it was based on the assessment carried out by the WHO in February 2022, which reported a total number of 405 children selected for treatment in the two main childhood cancer centres in Libya mentioned above.

Two training sessions have been conducted since the start of the project:

  • in June 2022: 13 people trained, including six doctors, two pharmacists, a laboratory manager and three nurses. The session took place during the Bambino Gesù evaluation mission to Benghazi Children’s Hospital
  • between November and December 2022: a month of On the Job Training at the Bambino Gesù Hospital to train a paediatric oncologist, a pharmacist, a microbiologist and an anaesthesiologist.

In addition to improving the health outcomes of children with cancer in the country through the provision of essential anti-cancer drugs and to developing the capabilities of health staff in cancer departments, the project also includes the implementation of medical equipment and support for the families of paediatric patients with:

  • the procurement and distribution of a total of eight cabinets to the two main hospitals in Tripoli and Benghazi, and to other paediatric oncology departments providing chemotherapy treatments, based on needs assessment  
  • the development and dissemination of guidelines and protocols for treating children with different types of cancer, for palliative care and for supporting children and their families.