By Onome Akpogheneta | 2 November 2011

Overhauling Libya’s wrecked health system is a top priority for the country’s interim government, according to a leaked strategy paper.

Libya’s new government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), sets out detailed spending plans in the blueprint – which has been obtained by Exaro – on the country’s health system.

The document says: “By marshalling our resources, an impending humanitarian crisis can be avoided. Financial resources to fund this plan through direct funding or through the NTC Ministry of Finance are urgently needed.”

“Enhance confidence of international community that you have a grip on [the] situation across the whole of the country”
Recommendation from Libya Emergency Medical and Health-care Plan

The strategy paper recognises the risk of corruption under the fledgling administration. It points to a “high risk of corruption unless robust financial mechanisms in allocation and delivery of funding [is] established.”

According to the plan, €1 million will be put aside in the first six months to combat dishonest practices, with the creation of a financial management structure that will include auditing and the hiring of a “financial technical adviser”.

Karl Blanchet, co-author of the report, told Exaro that decades of corruption in the country means that “extra caution” will be needed to ensure that the new authorities “invest the money where it needs to be invested for the Libyans.”

The new Libyan government is set to pour hundreds of millions of euros into rebuilding its health system. The document says: “The plan requires the immediate allocation of a budget of €200 million, followed by a monthly budget of €400 million to fulfil Libya’s medical and health-care needs. The allocation of these funds cannot wait.”

Of the initial €200 million injection, half will go on running hospitals and health facilities, €25 million on medicines, €25 million on supplies, and there will be €50 million for emergency cases and contingency.

The west of the country will receive half of this money, while 30 per cent will be for the east, and the rest for the south.

The report says: “Although these figures may appear high, as a comparison, last year alone the budget for medicine was €1 billion.

“Following a more detailed assessment and budgeting exercise, the forecast budget will be revised as planning work progresses.”

However, at the time the report was completed in June, only a quarter of the funding for the initial work had been secured, it says.

In the first six months of government, the NTC plans to spend €300 million on emergency services, surgery and blood supply. Another €600 million is to go on “health-service delivery”, which includes drugs, staff, and technical equipment, according to the report.

Under the plan, the country will be divided into 20 regions, each of them with a local health authority.

The document says that there are 93 hospitals in Libya, 56 of them in the west of the country, and 1,800 health centres. “The largest and most modern health facilities are located in the principal cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.”

The paper sets out the NTC’s health-care priorities. The plan, it says, “ensures that resources will be complementary to the efforts of the non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies and partner nations who have shown great generosity.”

The report, entitled, ‘Libya Emergency Medical and Health-care Plan’, concludes with some recommendations, including: “Encourage return of third-party national professionals to Libya.

“Enhance confidence of international community that you have a grip on [the] situation across the whole of the country.”

And, finally: “Engage direct and active support from key suppliers (eg Philips, Siemens, Amersham).”

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