Libya was once praised for having the highest Human Development Index in Africa. The gas and oil discoveries in the 1950s turned the country into one the richest in the region and essentially made them the third richest country in Africa. With the discovery of hydrocarbon wealth, Libya has continued to progress in our health indicators. One of their main achievements has been their almost universal coverage of childhood immunization program. They have achieved an almost 100% rate of attended births in hospital and according to the World Health Organization we further lead the way in offering the highest number of hospital beds per capita.
Due to increasing education, globalization and the realization of public health interventions, like needing necessary sanitation and safe drinking water, we have been able to meet needs within the Libyan medical sector. One of our most significant issues relates to road traffic accidents which have seen mortality figures nearly double in the last decade. In fact, these accidents are the third highest cause of death in the country and many survivors are left with permanent disabilities.
Since many hospitals have undergone renovations over a long period of time or are incomplete, many hospital beds are not in use or are of a substandard quality. However, our citizens enjoy a full healthcare package courtesy of the state but the quality of the services provided is in need of an upgrade. As a result, a multi-million dollar medical tourism facility has been set up in neighboring countries which caters exclusively for patients in Libya.
The Libyan Ministry of Health is receiving help from the World Health Organization and candidates who have both experience and expertise in the sector are being recruited into the Ministry. The current conditions of the Libyan health sector represent an opportunity to redefine the basis of the entire healthcare system and with the right financial support; the country can easily become a major healthcare destination.