The American University of Beirut, regarded as a symbol of the United States' deep interest in Lebanon, has built a new medical centre which is said to offer the best medical care in the Middle East.
The American University of Beirut, regarded as a symbol of the United States' deep interest in Lebanon, has built a new medical centre which is said to offer the best medical care in the Middle East. Treatment in the hospital is available to anyone. Whatever their financial means, each pays what he can afford.
The new medical centre-described as a veritable city of medicine-is the first of four new building which will comprise the medical complex and which will ultimately reach a total cost of 30 million dollars (12,600,000 sterling). The centre, and its adjacent out-patient clinic, which had treated over 68,000 people since it opened a year ago were built with a 20 million dollars (8,4000,000 sterling) grant from the U.S Agency for International Development (AID).
A further 10 million dollars (4,2000,000 sterling) will be given by AID to build, over the next ten years, the other three buildings of the complex planned by the University--- a research centre for basic medical sciences, a 100,000-volume medical library, and a centre for post-graduate studies.
The 12-storey centre was officially opened last month by the Lebanese Prime Minister Mr Rashid Karami. It combines in two buildings a modern 440-bed teaching hospital, medical research laboratories, private doctors' offices; and the famed out-patient department, which is now equipped to treat up to 100,000 people annually.
Patients have a choice of one-bed or two-bed rooms, with a limit of four beds to a ward. Patients pay whatever their family budget can afford; but sixty per cent of the rooms are now filled with people paying the lowest daily rate: 3.75 dollars (1.5 sterling)
The Centre is probably best known by Middle Eastern people for its out-patient department. Again the patient pays what he can afford but the overwhelming majority cannot afford more then between one and five dollars (0.4 - 2.0 sterling) for their care.
Surgery is provided at the basic minimum cost possible. The American University Hospital staff of 134 full-time and part-time doctors --70 of them resident--- is more than 98 per cent Middle Eastern in origin.
The American University of Beirut was founded in 1866. One year later the medical school was opened and since then it has trained 1860 doctors, more than 900 nurses, 1300 public health specialists, 1000 pharmacists and scores of allied medical scientists for service in the Middle East.