“Unable to get specialist care for his six year-old daughter in Libya or a visa for treatment
abroad, Abdulhakim Shaybi bought a motor boat and set off with her last month across the Mediterranean. Two and a half hours into their journey from Sabratha in western Libya, they reached a European ship deployed to rescue migrants.
‘I raised a white flag to the ship in a sign of peace,’ Shaybi told Reuters by phone this
week from the Italian city of Genoa, where his daughter Sajida, who has the rare blood cell disease aplastic anemia, is now undergoing tests. ‘My friend told them that we have a sick little girl.’
‘We are only conducting emergency operations now,’ General Manager Mukhtar al Habbas told Reuters [from Tripoli]. ‘We have no anesthetic, sterilizing materials, or medical gauze, so how we can work?’
It is a similar tale across Libya. About half of the country’s 159 hospitals are either closed or barely delivering services, said Haroon Rashid, a World Health Organization official.”
The current health care situation in Libya is so precarious that the father of a sick young girl risked an ocean crossing to get her the treatment she desperately needs. Nearly 3,000 refugees died this year alone, making this same crossing.
This is why we continue to work in Libya. This is why we partner with Libyan surgeons, cardiologists, and nurses—so desperate fathers don’t have to make these kinds of choices.