Migrant Workers Task Force (MWTF) organized a Health Day, a no-cost wellbeing fair, on December 9, 2012 from 10am till 2pm at AltCity. Its aim was to bring health awareness and provide free health care to migrant workers living in Beirut.
With a turnout of roughly 115 workers, who were provided services by approximately 25 volunteers from different fields, the day was a great success. The volunteers included medical students, both interns and resident doctors, and one family doctor; patients were from various nationalities. All patients were introduced to a referral system available in Lebanon consisting of: Hotel Dieu Family Medicine department, the American University of Beirut’s Medical Center (AUBMC) Outpatient department, and St. George’s Hospital. These centers charge between 5,000 LL and 20,000 LL for consultations and offer reductions on all para-clinical tests.
Preventive medicine information sessions on STIs (sexually transmitted infections), HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), vaccinations and nutrition were given. Treatments for back and neck pain were also addressed as well as how to stay safe on the road.
As for medical services: all patients were assessed by interns who, filled out a form for each one, took their blood pressure, calculated their Body Mass Index and referred them to residents in case of any specific complaints. Blood sugar tests and pap smears were also available with over twenty pap smears taken that day.
Omar Harfouch, computer class coordinator of MWTF, headed this initiative. When asked about the event’s success, he commented:
“I’m very pleased the event was a great success. Our main goal from this event was to direct migrant workers to health services with reduced prices at different hospitals, and I think we accomplished that fully. We also tailored [our assistance] to the complaints present on the spot that the migrant workers had and were able to orient them to a structured health plan and referral system. Finally, we also introduced many migrants from different nationalities to both MWTF and AltCity. I would like to thank all the volunteers, medical and non-medical, who participated in the success of this project and we will be having more health awareness projects with an emphasis on prevention.”
Joelle Safi, who also played a key role in the event, said, “What we did was a drop in the ocean of needs of migrant workers, and a pilot project that will hopefully be followed by many more.”
The event was also made possible by members of AltCity, who not only provided space but an incredible amount of organizational support, turning a big open space into multiple private, small medical clinics.