In Benghazi, where Islamist forces are fighting the army affiliated with the Tobruk-based government, MSF is supplying three hospitals with drugs. The team will also provide training in emergency care at Benghazi Medical Centre. Following fighting in Benghazi in early March, the city’s hospitals admitted more than 100 patients, while hospitals in Marj and Al Abyar, east of Benghazi – both supported by MSF – also admitted a number of wounded.
Libya is also dealing with a displacement crisis as people flee the violence. Benghazi alone is sheltering more than 100,000 displaced people. In Benghazi, MSF teams are distributing food and providing medical consultations to the displaced, with a focus on paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, at a clinic which opened on 20 February, in close partnership with a local NGO.
A decrease in vaccination coverage and an increase in maternal mortality are other consequences of the health crisis in Libya. MSF is supplying vaccines to health centres in both the east and west of the country.
Despite the serious deterioration of the country's health system, very few aid organisations are following MSF's lead and providing help. With its oil resources, Libya is often considered a rich country, but this is no longer the case. The health system reflects the wider state of the country: hospitals are kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment which, due to poor maintenance and a lack of spare parts, is no longer operational.
“It’s a country where the problems aren’t immediately obvious,” says Malika Saim. “But so much is needed. You can really see how the health system has gone downhill since we started working here a year ago.”