Dr. Mohammed Samir checks a baby's pulse at Golden Clinic in Sebha. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/ Fathiya Elazomi

“We couldn’t do much for our patients, but to examine them and make a diagnostic. The clinic was full of debris and contaminated with wastewater,” explained Dr. Mohammed Samir, clearly afflicted.

In 2014, the violent clashes in Sebha resulted into hundreds of fatalities, people leaving their houses, and building and public infrastructures, among them health facilities, ruined by the bullets and explosions.

Dr. Samir is a pediatrician at Golden Clinic in Sebha, where he has been working for seven years. He is dedicated to his job and does his best to serve patients. He seems deeply affected when explaining that he was not able to provide the services that the people needed due to the bad conditions of the clinic.

Golden Clinic is the second biggest public health facility in Sebha. It was established in late 1980s to provide 24 hours free health care to inhabitants of Sebha and cities around.

“We were asking our patients to go to expensive private clinics or travel to unsafe areas to get better healthcare in the General Hospital. Some of them couldn’t make it,” Dr. Samir said.

"We didn't have appropriate offices, we were sitting on broken chairs, and using worn tables. Doors were in pieces, walls were cracked and marked by bullets," said Ms. Khayria Mohammed, Director of Finance and Administration at Golden Clinic.

One of the corridors at Golden Clinic in Sebha during and after renovation. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/ Fathiya Elazom

Searching for an antidote

The European Union-funded ‘Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery’ project implemented by UNDP renovated Golden Clinic. The medical institution started to receive patients again in October 2018. Before renovation, it was delivering minimum services. Some services such as immunization had even been interrupted and others were not working every day because of the bad conditions of the building.

"I have been working here for 20 years and the facility has never been renovated like this before. This is really amazing," declared Ms. Khayria Mohammed. "This rehabilitation helped us to restructure all departments and organize administration services. Now, we are working in decent offices," she went on saying.

After rehabilitation, the clinic is the only public health facility delivering vaccination services in Sebha. As the working conditions improved, the clinic is planning to hire more staff and be able to provide services 24 hours a day again.

"If we were able to treat 20.000 persons in 2018 with only six working hours per day, one can imagine how many people it will be possible to receive if the clinic opens 24 hours a day," said Mr. Abu Eidbah Emhemad, Director of the Clinic.

The Resilience project is implementing other initiatives in the city as well. It is supporting Sebha’s Water and Sanitation Company with the design of the main sewage pipeline and has delivered three generators. Sebha central park is under construction as part of the same project.

Aimed at supporting access to basic services, community security and economic recovery in Libya, the European Union-funded ‘Strengthening Local Capacities for Resilience and Recovery’ project works in coordination with the Ministry of Local Governance and Tripoli, Sabratha, Sebha, Murzuq, Benghazi and AlKufra municipalities. It is supporting local peace actions and promoting dialogue across different communities, while currently working on 33 initiatives to rehabilitate critical infrastructures and supply equipment across Libya.

A nurse is vaccinating a new born at Golden Clinic in Sebha. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/ Fathiya Elazomi

Receiving patients, delivering services

"About 180 children are now vaccinated per week. We couldn't do it without the maintenance of the building," stated Mr. Abu Eidbah.

"I come here when one of my children gets sick, but today, I brought my baby for vaccination," declared Ms Om Aseal. "I am very happy with the renovation, the department looks great and is providing very good services," she added.

Dr. Mohammed Samir checks the throat of a young patient at Golden Clinic in Sebha. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/ Fathiya Elazomi

Before renovation, the clinic was not able to work on a regular basis and could not receive many patients. Improved working conditions in the building enabled the medical staff to be more available and to receive more patients.

"I used to examine between 10 to 20 children per day by working three days a week. Now, it is up to 60 children daily, most of them are new-born," concluded Dr. Samir.

"It is disheartening to see your child sick when you don’t have enough money for medical treatment. I am really thankful for this service and the building looks very good, " said Mr. Ibrahim Abubakur, father of Imdallah, a 10 year- old patient at the Golden clinic.

Dr Mohammed Samir is reading a medical report about a young patient who came with her father for medical consultation at Golden Clinic in Sebha. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/ Fathiya Elazomi
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