Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lebanon... the hospital of the Middle East?

In times like these, when Lebanon's head political honchos are sitting around a table with the express intent of preventing a civil war, economic news may seem a little mundane! But no matter what the eclectic collection of god's representatives on Earth like to preach, money makes the world go round, and therefore, matters of the "Green" always deserve their little space in the headlines.

Last week, the Clemenceau Medical Center opened its doors in Beirut. It is the first clinical facility in Beirut that is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, or indeed any other international organization of such caliber. The press release that was issued on the day of the opening read as follows:

CMC aims to be the creator, applicator and the forerunner of a new healthcare concept in Lebanon and the region. The Center is a unique health complex with a multipurpose high-tech hospital, fully-equipped with International standards.... CMC has the facilities and services to cater to the needs of patients from Lebanon and the Middle East. Virtually, all medical services a patient might need - doctor visits, testing, surgery, and hospital care - are available under one roof at CMC....
Sounds great, doesn't it? Except I wonder where all those Arab patients are. From what I hear, Lebanese doctors have formed little "mafias" to prevent new entrants into their field of specialty and protect what little clientele they already have... most of whom are Lebanese!

It is obvious to all of us... Lebanon's potential lies in the medical field. Yet, for some reason the political elite has not exploited that potential! Every mom and pop in Lebanon grooms their children to become either engineers or doctors... and the glut of professionals that this Lebanese obsession has created in both fields is immense! However, whereas engineers actually need to go somewhere to build a structure, or do whatever it is they specialize in, patients usually come to doctors! And the all mighty knows, Lebanon has a lot of doctors!

Where are those patients?!?!?! Why isn't the Lebanese government taking more steps to facilitate the process of traveling to Lebanon for a bypass heart surgery? Why hasn't Lebanon become the hospital of the Middle East? Oh wait... I know... we're too busy dealing such life and death issues as the Shebaa farms, and inter-sectarian one-upmanship!


AbdulKarim said...

Medical Tourism is what Lebanon should aim for. As Lebanon's economy is service oriented, it is very essential that we take this step of becoming the hospital of the middle east. Last year I was living with a Greek Cypriot flatmate and she told me that many in Cyprus go to Israel for medication because they have excellent reputation in medical services and its also cheap. When I asked why don't they go to Beirut, she said they don't know that we have good hospitals,and doctors. Cyprus is one of the closest countries to us and yet they do not know. But I do not blame them for that. In fact, it is the responsibility of our private hospitals to promote themselves in the region. They have done little in that respect. Why? I don't know...

reem said...

Raja, Abdulkarim,
I definitely agree with you, and that is clearly one area Lebanon can successfully compete in. What is more important is that it's an area whcih has many linkages to the rest of the economy, so that if it takes off, it will create a virtuous cycle (hotel reservations, consumption, insurance, etc). It will promote our human capital as embodied by all medical professionals...I also read about Israel betting on medical tourism, and it would be stupid to let this opportunity slip for Lebanon. I live in London, and trust me, for all the economic power it is, I always wait until I am back in Beirut to have all my medical check-ups!

frencheagle said...

i m sorry folks but ...

let me tell u that we re having too many doctors in leb, some of them are right now even paying to work!!!
the people that have the competencies are not staying here

+ add that we are having many doctors that do not have the competencies as they were studying in east europe or in ex soviet union.
let me tell u 2 stories.

once my dad got a patient (he s a surgeon) someone whose cousin was a surgeon as well.
my father was horrified to see that the prothese the guy put was not ceiled and that the part were infected and going out of the bodies.

second story, one of the best well known surgeon of a well known med school made a huge mistake in the treatment of a patient.
it costed the use of the arm of a 16 years old girl when it was possible to save her arm.

third story, nuclear elements to treat a cancers.
result: the person died not because of the disease but bcz the radio elements burned her.

besides all that, hospitals are badly managed by non professionals that are having engeneering background when they are scientifics or by religious people that do not know anything in the medical field but think that they can manage a hospital better then doctors (or even hospitality educated people)

this post is just anything else then a dream

i m not talking about well known hospitals that are having huge hygienic diseases.
i m not talking about certifications of theses hospitals that are not able to pass a C grade when they are claiming they have an A grade

i m not talking about real competent doctors that are not even coming back in lebanon when they studied in europe or US
i m not talking about non competent nurses that are employed when the competent one are leaving to europe

lebanon is going to loose that competency in the long term.

lebanon was advanced and really advanced during the war, when the doctors that were staying here like my dad, to help their brothers and they didnt leave and that were even going to save lifes when the bombs were falling and were not payed for this
theses kind of persons are scarces but everything that happens is just disgusting them

if i were to pass through a surgery, i wouldnt do it here but in europe, in the US

why-discuss said...

Do you know that Iran is becoming the hub of plastic surgery: a booming market. Every single iranian young boy or girls have a nose job. Iranian expatriates in the US come to Iran as it is well staffed, efficient and much cheaper than the US or Europe. I think the medical tourism is the key of Lebanon development. In all the other areas they are beaten ( beaches, financial centers etc..)
Would this government with a total lack of creativity for long term, wake up?

Anonymous said...

i have the nick samara for presidency!! serious campaign!! pass it around -