Libya dating system
"Many patients (either individually at their own expense or through various initiatives under local and national authorities) were sent abroad for treatment," he wrote recently in a paper titled Libya: Time to Rebuild a Shattered Healthcare System.
"Libyan citizens perceive the public health system as inadequate if not poor, and consequently health tourism to neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt has flourished," the report noted.A MULTIMILLION-dollar medical tourism industry catering to Libyan patients has emerged in neighbouring countries, stripping the already struggling health system of investment and blocking efforts to rebuild a sector rife with corruption.The extent of Libya's crumbling infrastructure is most apparent in the health system.Hospitals are poorly staffed, many have endured long periods of unfinished construction work and medical equipment is outdated or sits unused because no one in Libya has the technical expertise to operate it.As a result, Libyans' faith in their health system is dangerously low, undermined by the government's investment of millions to send people overseas to get treatment for even simple conditions and fears that hospitals are so badly resourced that they are dangerous.But this health tourism is creating regional tensions, with Tunisia and Jordan several times over the last 12 months threatening to cut off medical services to Libyans unless millions in outstanding health bills are paid.
As of last month, Libyan authorities were believed to owe private hospitals in Jordan as much as 60 million Jordanian dinars ($82.9 million).
Meanwhile Libya's Election Commission chief, Nouri al-Abbar, says he expects to release final results from the historic elections today, after a recount of some ballots in the eastern city of Benghazi as well as some absentee ballots lodged overseas, with the moderate National Forces Alliance of the former interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril set for a landslide victory over Islamist parties.
"Some people go to Europe just to get physiotherapy," says Salama Aghila, a surgeon at Tripoli's General Hospital.
"If the government spent the money here to invest in our own health system, to improve hospitals and train more doctors and nurses, everyone would benefit." Even a simple gall bladder operation - one that Dr Aghila performs many times a week - can prompt patients to seek overseas treatment.
And every time the health ministry agrees to a patient's request for such surgery to be performed overseas, it is $US10,000 spent in another country's health system and a loss for Libya, he says.
"The trust in the system has been lost - now people have started going to Tunisia for the simplest things." Last year's revolution took a heavy toll on Libyans' health, with tens of thousands killed, missing or injured, says Moez Zeiton, director for health research at the Sadeq Institute in Tripoli.