The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announces reported yesterday that it will end its medical activities in Tripoli, Libya.
It said it had provided healthcare to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees held in Detention Centres and to those living in precarious conditions in urban settings.
The activities come to an end yesterday, while MSF’s support in Tripoli to the National Programme on Tuberculosis and at Abu-Sitta Hospital for Respiratory Diseases, will cease at the end of the year.
MSF said its decision to close its medical activities in Tripoli follows an extensive review of its humanitarian responses globally and a process of financial reprioritisation.
It said it initiates medical projects based on specific identified needs of a population and the ability to have unhindered access to the people we assist. As an organisation with humanitarian responses in over 80 countries MSF makes continuous choices where to focus its work.
“We regret that we have had to take the difficult decision to end our medical activities in Tripoli, knowing that this will have an impact on people’s access to medical care. We have not taken this decision lightly,” says Djoen Besselink, MSF Operations Manager, Amsterdam.
The closure of MSF’s medical activities will end its assistance to people in Detention Centres in Tripoli, where since 2016 it has provided primary medical care including mental health support, referrals of life-threatening conditions to secondary healthcare facilities and the facilitation of access to protection services. In addition, MSF has provided vital care to people through mobile clinics in urban settings and has supported two primary health care facilities with health promotion, mental health and sexual and reproductive care.
MSF has supported the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) and Abu Sitta Hospital for Respiratory Diseases in Tripoli, to improve the medical response to tuberculosis, including drug-resistant tuberculosis, in both the Libyan and non-Libyan populations. MSF will also continue to work in the Misrata Chest Respiratory Hospital.
The announcement is made against the backdrop of access issues that have affected MSF medical activities in Tripoli along with an increasingly challenging environment for international organisations in the country.
“MSF remains committed to providing free and quality health services in Libya. Our work continues in the regions of Misrata and Zuwara, where we provide primary health care, mental health counselling, and sexual and reproductive health care in public health facilities, detention centres, prisons, and urban settings,” Besselink said.
MSF reiterates its commitment to continue providing medical care and humanitarian assistance in Libya, guided by universal medical ethics and the principles of neutrality, independence, and impartiality.
It said continues search and rescue activities to assist asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who risk their lives on the Central Mediterranean Sea and advocates for safe pathways for people to seek protection.