Fatma Ibrahim Mohammed is receiving medicines at the pharmacy of the health centre. The medical facility was delivered by the Stabilization Facility for Libya. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/Malek Almaghrebi

Fatma Ibrahim Mohammed is 14 years old and a grade five student at a primary school in Kikla. Displaced since 2014 due to conflict, her family was among the first to return to live in the city in 2016. Fatma and her family’s return was supported by the resumption of previously interrupted public services.

"When Fatma was sick during the first period of our return to Kikla in 2016, we were forced to go to nearby cities, about 50 kilometres away, to get a paediatrician. It was too tiring, and we were not comfortable with it,’’ said Mrs. Mabrouka Sulaiman, Fatma’s mother. With the establishment of a new health center, that has now changed.

"The severe conflict in Kikla led to the complete destruction of the health sector, including destruction of the central hospital building, and the equipment that was not destroyed was stolen. The task of re-equipping the health sector has become a difficult and long-term one," said Meftah Amara, director of medical services at Kikla Municipality.

Doctor looks at Fatma's throat as part of a medical check at a health center provided by the Stabilization Facility for Libya. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/Malek Almaghrebi

Returning to a "no services" city

Families that had returned to Kikla didn’t have access to health services. They were obliged to travel more than 50 kilometers for treatment. For this reason, many displaced families in Tripoli, like Fatma’s family, were reluctant to return home despite the relative calm in the city.

“To ensure the safety of my family, I was forced to move and stay in Tripoli. Before thinking about returning home, some important conditions had to be met including access to health services and medicines not far from my home,” said Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Youssef, a father of seven children.

Mohammed Abdullah Youssef and his boy Yassin during a medical consultation at the prefab health center. The facility was delivered by SFL. Photo: ©UNDP Libya/Malek Almaghrebi

Access to basic services for all

Led by national and municipal Libyan institutions and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Stabilization Facility for Libya (SFL) is an immediate stabilization initiative which provides quick rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and delivery of equipment to support local authorities to improve its services to their citizens.

The SFL implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) delivered a health center to the Municipality in 2018. "The center provides services such as public health, pediatrics, dermatology and internal medicine, as well as regular vaccinations for children and the elderly," said Nuri Abdel Hadi, director of the health center.

The SFL has completed 16 projects in Kikla, including the supply of ambulances, a fire engine, generators, solar panels, and school furniture as well as the rehabilitation of the Main Hospital and the university.

Fatma's mother takes the prescription from the doctor at the prefab health center in Kikla. ©UNDP Libya/Malek Almaghrebi

Settle again in Kikla

Projects implemented by the SFL in Kikla have enabled citizens to access health services, as well as improving educational institutions and other services. With improved living conditions in the city, most of those who had been hesitating to come back, like Mr. Youssef, were convinced. By mid2018, around eighty percent of citizens, previously internally displaced around Libya, had returned home.

"We have recently noticed that many families are coming to the center and there is sometimes a congestion of 25 cases a day, unlike the first period, where the number of cases ranged from 5 to 10 cases per day," said Dr. Siraj Baysh, a pediatrician in Kikla.

"The situation now is different in Kikla. We have a health facility that provides basic health services to my children and provides them with medicines, as well as vaccinations in one place and near my home. This encouraged me to return and settle again in Kikla," said Mr. Youssef.

"We are now more comfortable with the presence of a health facility, a paediatrician and the provision of essential medicines for my children. We do not need to travel long distances to neighbouring cities to get a doctor," explained Fatma’s mother.

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