Today, UNICEF and the Embassy of Japan in Lebanon handed over the Supplies Warehouse in Karantina to the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). Following the heavy damage caused by the Beirut explosions in 2020, the warehouse was rehabilitated and expanded to ensure MOPH regains a functional and standardized central facility capable of supporting the national efforts to improve maternal and child health and the overall wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in the country.
The building is now one of the largest medical equipment and supply facilities in Lebanon, with 1050m2 of construction area distributed across two floors and 2250 m3 of storage capacity for personal protective equipment, vaccine consumables and medical equipment. The warehouse features advanced firefighting, lightning and earthing systems to ensure the protection of personnel and equipment conforming to international standards. UNICEF also installed an emergency generator and a solar power system to ensure an uninterrupted power supply.
The aftermath of the Beirut explosions caused numerous disruptions to the national healthcare system and UNICEF is proud to have supported Lebanon with the construction and rehabilitation of the main medical facilities in karantina, such as a Primary Healthcare Centre, the cold chain and refrigeration rooms of the Central Drug Warehouse, the renovation and completion of the new building of the Karanina University public hospital and today the Supplies Warehouse,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “These facilities will restore access to quality essential health care services for vulnerable populations, especially children, and will contribute to the effective functioning of the healthcare system across the country”.
The construction works started in May 2021 by UNICEF through generous funding from the Government of Japan. UNICEF assigned a control office to ensure the project’s quality and safety levels and meet the statutory and legislative standards and carried out independent technical monitoring, control and quality assurance tasks throughout the entire construction period and implementation phases.
The Ambassador of Japan in Lebanon, H.E. Mr. Takeshi Okubo said: “In the midst of the compounded crisis that Lebanon has been experiencing, the health sector has proven to be the main artery of the country. For this reason, Japan has spared no effort in supporting projects that aim at enhancing the resilience of the medical sector and raise its readiness in the face of any future challenge, whether by providing advanced equipment to healthcare, supporting construction efforts, or even equipping hospitals with solar panels to address the ongoing electricity problem. Japan will continue to stand by Lebanon during these critical times and to collaborate with local and international actors to further recovery efforts.”
In his speech, Minister of Public Health Dr. Firas Abyad said that: “Recovery is the path chosen by the Ministry to overcome the compounded crises that Lebanon has been going through, and this project brings a light of hope to achieve this recovery.” He thanked the Japanese ambassador and UNICEF for their continuous support to the health sector. “This support will help us move towards a better future.”
The new Supplies Warehouse will increase the Ministry of Public Health’s storage capacity for medical supplies and consumables by around 60% at the central level. UNICEF will continue to support Lebanon in strengthening its health system to ensure all children and mothers have access to quality health care services.