Standing together for the common good: INTERSOS on the fontline against Thalassemia in Lebanon

Community Development Centers (CDCs) run by INTERSOS in Lebanon are places where refugees of all ages from Syria wait for the moment to move back to their communities of origin safely and with dignity.

Since April 2019, through a joint effort of INTERSOS, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC), many CDSs run by INTERSOS in the Bekaa region have also become places where people can donate blood to support medical assistance for children affected by thalassaemia. Thalassemia is a widespread blood disease both in Lebanon and in Syria. The increase in the number of refugees now living in Lebanon makes the need for action even more acute.

“The collaboration between INTERSOS, MSF, and LRC was born during the World Refugee Day, especially for children suffering from thalassaemia treated  in the paediatric hospital/wards where MSF works –  says Maria Sole Dall’Oro, INTERSOS Project Manager  in Bekaa – the contribution of INTERSOS has been crucial because our humanitarian intervention covers several Informal Settlements, with a consequent potential increase in the number of blood donors”.

The collaboration between humanitarian organizations is essential and indispensable for the creation of spaces where individuals improve their abilities to better respond to social and physical stress and strengthen their resilience capacities.
“Most donors are among the Syrian refugees themselves, as well as our staff and our volunteers! Through this initiative we foster social cohesion, solidarity among refugees themselves and collaboration between organizations toward a common good” – continues Maria Sole.

Thalassaemia is one of the most common genetic diseases in the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East. If not treated properly, thalassaemia can lead to a drastic drop in life expectancy. Thalassemias are inherited disorders that lead to an alteration of the genes that causes anaemia, a decrease in the amount of haemoglobin useful for transporting oxygen in the blood. Therefore, the treatment often requires regular blood transfusions.

Stefania Donaera
Stefania Donaera
Press Officer, INTERSOS