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Treating Syrian Refugees With Chronic Diseases

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Published on Apr 16, 2014

Since April 2012, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has managed a chronic disease treatment program in Lebanon to meet the desperate needs of Syrian patients who no longer have access to treatment.

"Nearly 90 percent of our patients arrive with prior diagnoses of chronic disease—typically hypertension and diabetes," says Dr. Wael Harb, MSF supervisory doctor in the Bekaa Valley. "The condition worsens quickly if they haven't received treatment for weeks."

With support from chronic disease experts, MSF is now developing innovative approaches that are better-suited to this kind of context. The organization is focusing particularly on diabetes and hypertension, which are widespread among Syrian patients. Similar approaches will also be developed to treat other non-transmissible chronic diseases, such as angina, asthma, and epilepsy.

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