How online service 'What's Up Doc' will provide affordable healthcare to refugees
In an effort to provide frontline medical assistance to refugees and low-income families living within the country’s borders, a group of doctors in Lebanon have created the nation’s first internet-based service called ‘What’s Up Doc.’
The initiative was developed through a collaboration of medical experts in Beirut hospitals, with a goal of targeting thousands of refugees in and around Lebanon. It will use the internet as a way to communicate and diagnose patients, while also using its funds to further facilitate access to the service through online platforms.
‘What’s Up Doc’ aims to connect patients to qualified physicians through a low-cost phone call or video call that will be directed to an online application on its website. It can also be followed by an affordable house call if necessary.
Patients with serious health concerns that can’t be treated locally may find it difficult to reach the closest proper medical facilities due to a high cost of transportation as well as other external factors.
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According to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Lebanon has already accepted over one million Syrian refugees, most of which are receiving little to no medical assistance and are living in sub-standard conditions.
“It is not a secret that a majority of the Lebanese people and refugees rely on self-prescriptions instead of seeking professional medical help, simply because it is either not easily accessible or affordable for them,” said Radwan Massoud, one of the group members.
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“Our project makes medical assistance available for those who need it for a fair price at the touch of a button.”
With over 80 percent of Lebanon able to access the internet, service is readily available. In addition, other options include mobile medical units provided by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which are able to be transported from one area to another during times of need.