How It Started
First let’s start with numbers:
70,000 babies are born every year in Lebanon. Of these births, 9,000 (12%) are premature. On top of it, since 2015, Syrian refugees account for 9,000 of premature births yearly. This results in a total number of over 18,000 premature births on Lebanese soil! Quite a staggering number that only a few are aware of.
The cost of medical care, suitable for premature babies in privately held hospitals, varies anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000. These hospitals tend to decline patients covered by the national social security (NSSF) and the ministry of health
(MOH); even more when treatments are qualified as complex and time-consuming.
While there are two government hospitals (“The Hariri Hospital” and the “Baabda Hospital”) accredited to cater such needs, there is an insufficiency in specialized functioning medical equipment and a deficiency in staff headcount to handle growing numbers of patients.
We dreamt about creating a non-profit organization that would specialize in the rehabilitation and medical support of pediatric wards in government-public hospitals across Lebanon through adequate facilities ensuring the right level of dedicated care to current and future Lebanese newborns and premature babies.
And our dream came true. How?
Our first step was partnering with an existing government hospital. We took over the old ward of the Quarantina Hospital, which services over 500,000 people, of which 150,000 are children, from its 7 neighborhoods (Quarantina, Gemmayze, Saifi, Burj Hammoud, Nabaa, Dora, Sin el Fil).
We managed to renovate the ward with the latest medical equipment and prenatal services facilities through the “Carlos Slim foundation” and the “Give a child a toy association”. We then signed strategic alliances with St. Georges Orthodox Hospital and Balamand University, to support us in transforming the Quarantina ward into the first ever Government University Hospital in Lebanon: “The Carlos Slim Center for Children”.
However, the financial sustainability of our project remains our main challenge, when 60% of Lebanese population lives under $6 a day, and only 70% of children admitted at the Quarantina Government Hospital are covered by NSSF or MOH. To ensure the right level of care that current and future Lebanese premature babies need, the “Carlos Slim Center for Children” cannot survive with the limited financial resources from the government. This is why contributions from the private sector and individual citizens are crucial.
We dreamt big and continue to do so with the projects we aspire to achieve in our pipeline: a pediatric dialysis and transplant center, a cancer treatment center, and an infectious disease department and isolation sections. Projects that make a difference, and that require your help.
Who We Are
Association d’aide à la mere et l’enfant à l’hopital, ASSAMEH - Birth & Beyond is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 by Pr. Robert Sacy along with a devoted team of volunteers, who strongly believe that Lebanese children should never be denied the medical facilities they deserve.
ASSAMEH is dedicated to support Government Hospitals in providing first class specialized medical care to families who cannot afford it, at the fraction of the cost incurred in private hospitals.
Pr. Robert SacyPresident
Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology Saint George Hospital University Medical Center and Balamand University
Past President Lebanese Pediatric Society
Past President Lebanese Society of Perinatal Medicine
Head of Department Quarantina Governmental Hospital
Past head of department Saint George Hospital
Treasurer of the Union of Middle East and Mediterranean Pediatric Societies UMEMPS
Vice President of Italian Arab Pediatric Association
Member of editorial board of JAMA Pediatrics M.R.Edition
Of Journal of Adolescent and Pediatrics
Of Journal of Pediatric And Neonatal Care
Aboud ShamiVice President & Treasurer
President Advisors 360 (SAL)
Past Group Managing Director Impact/BBDO .
How we are making a lasting difference:
To date, we have invested around $2,000,000 in construction, equipment and general overheads to ensure the specialized medical care suitable for newborn and premature babies.
Construction and refurbishing
Total investments to date: around $700.000
- Building and equipment of a pediatric polyclinic facility and primary health care.
- Demolition of the old facility and reconstruction of a new pediatric ward facility.
- Painting and restoration of the hospital façade.
- Rehabilitation of a waiting room for patient family visits.
- Building and equipment of a conference room adequate for 150 people.
- Construction of a ward for nurse visits comprising of 2 bedroom facilities and a living room.
- Restoration of the hospital garden for fundraising events (it can foster around 350 guests).
Total investments to date: around $2,000,000
- 4 Intensive pediatric beds.
- 12 General pediatric beds.
- 1 CT scan machine.
- 2 Echography machines with CR development facility and an EEG Video.
- 1 Mobile radiology machine with an automatic CR development on paper or CD.
- 1 Portable lab machine for urgent examinations (results processed within 15 seconds).
- 16 Intensive care incubators with respirators, monitoring and phototherapy facilities and pumps.
- 1 Mobile transport incubator with a respirator facility and compatible MRI.
- Operating room, including a neonatal and pediatric anesthetic machine.
- Pediatric surgeries material: laparoscopic surgery and urological laparoscopic equipment.
- Compressed air facility and aspiration conduit to the pediatric beds.
- 1 Air tank with a compressor allowing the administration of NO for the resistant pulmonary hypertensions.
- 1 Rigid Bronchoscope with telescope, broncho tubes & accessories
- Optical foreseps & suction tube.
- 1 Operating table with pediatric facility.
- Bilicheck advanced system.
- 3 patient monitors and vital signs.
- 1 Meal distribution trolley.
- 1 Otoread screaning: OAE tester with fixed frequency and printer.
- Laryngoscopes, Ambubags, Otoscope, Ophtalmoscope.
- 10 Pousse seringues, 10 perfuseurs, 4 docking stations.
- 1 Pediatric Resectoscope.
- Central Monitoring station.
- Conventional and HFO respirators.
We have supported a wide range of treatments and cases, of which:
- Acute gastro-enteritis
- Respiratory Distress
- Severe Dehydration
- Renal insufficiency
- Peritoneal and Hemodialysis
- Congenital malformations
- Ictyosis (Ichthyosis)
- Metabolic diseases
- Minor surgical cases
- Pleural effusion
- Cystic fibrosis
- Cardiac diseases
- Neurologic diseases
- Severe cellulitis
Projects in our pipeline
The future looks bright: We are launching our new pediatric ward with the latest, most technologically advanced pediatric equipment, intensive care unit and neonatal intensive care unit. And we aspire to keep on achieving more in the near future with the following :
- Pediatric Dialysis and transplant center.
- Cancer treatment center.
- Infectious disease department and Isolation sections.