18,800 Poor Lebanese Families to Benefit from Free Healthcare

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The Social Affairs and Health Ministers said Tuesday 18,800 Lebanese families will be able to receive free health services in all public and private hospitals as part of the government’s welfare program launched last year to aid the poor.

“I hope that the free healthcare for the Lebanese families would be an example of what the government can do for the Lebanese people without any segregation,” Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour said during a press conference he held with Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil at the Grand Serail.

Abou Faour said he “took pride in the program” which is run in collaboration with the World Bank and the Italian and Canadian governments to help people living on less than $2.40 a day.

The minister invited families whose applications had been previously rejected for not complying with the program’s requirements to apply again for a review.

Hassan Khalil also said at the press conference that “despite strong political divisions, the Lebanese are united in social issues.”

He vowed to “work on implementing the program with the best standards” and said “there will be transparency” and an exceptional follow up by the health and social affairs ministries.

The minster also hoped that the ID cards that will be handed to the beneficiaries would not be exploited.

Prime Minister Najib Miqati, who witnessed the signing of the health plan by both ministers, hailed the initiative as a step forward in helping the poor although it did not meet all expectations.

“The program required months of intense work by the social affairs ministry,” he said.

“There won’t be political and economic stability without social stability,” Miqati told reporters.

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