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Beirut blast: Sharjah foundation pledges Dh8.7m to rebuild 142-year-old hospital in Lebanon

Sharjah - Standing only 900 metres from the epicentre of the Port Beirut blast, St George Hospital became non-operational for the first time since its establishment in 1878.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 15 Dec 2020, 1:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Dec 2020, 1:41 PM

Sharjah’s The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) on Tuesday announced that it will be allocating $2.37 million (Dh8.7 million) to support the reconstruction of Lebanon’s 142-year-old St George Hospital University Medical Centre (SGHUMC), which was rendered inoperative by the devastating explosion that shook Beirut in August.

The non-profit hospital had served its community for 142 years. Standing only 900 metres away from the epicentre of the Port Beirut blast, it became non-operational for the first time since its establishment in 1878.

This reconstruction project falls under the Salam Beirut initiative, an emergency aid and relief campaign launched by Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of TBHF, and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at UNHCR, aimimg to help bring the city of Beirut back to normal life after the blast.

The initiative primarily focuses on rebuilding the hospital’s emergency and trauma (ERT) unit, and the repair work is expected to be completed in three months. Besides infrastructural development, TBHF’s funding will also cover the purchase of medical and administrative equipment.

Once complete, the newly built and fitted-out ERT unit of SGHUMC — which will be named after The Big Heart Foundation — will be able to increase its capacity and treat 40,000 patients per year, allowing the hospital to expand its reach in surrounding communities.

Part of TBHF’s funding will be used for the development of a new paediatric section that will include three regular paediatric cubicles, one resuscitation room, and one isolation room. An isolation unit that can handle all kinds of possible outbreaks will also be constructed.

Speaking about why Salam Beirut identified this hospital reconstruction project as one of its benefactors, Mariam Al Hammadi, director of TBHF, said: “The SGHUMC is a highly respected institution, one that embodies a strong sense of civic pride. TBHF chose SGHUMC for its historical and social relevance in the city of Beirut and beyond.

“A prestigious humanitarian landmark, it represents a tangible heritage of the city’s cultural identity and has etched itself into the fabric of the Lebanese community, which it has been serving for more than a century. The SGHUMC’s long-standing history in delivering access to quality, free healthcare services, has made the 142-year-old non-profit hospital a haven for patients who are unable to afford the high costs of treatment for several ailments.”

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