| Mar 24, 2015
Syrian refugee Ibrahim and two of his sons.
For the past five years, Ibrahim has been closely monitoring his health. The Syrian refugee now living in a tented settlement in Lebanon suffers from hypertension. He requires medication to keep his blood pressure in check.
But he’s learning – eating right is essential, too.
In his previous life in Syria, before the war displaced him and his family, Ibrahim was a driver. He eventually had to quit his job to look after his health, and that’s when things began to change for the worse. That’s when the swirling specter of war descended. He, his wife and their 10 children lived in the suburbs of Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world. Now it’s little more than dust and rubble, leveled under an unrelenting onslaught of barrel bombs and ISIS-led attacks.
Ibrahim and most of his family were fortunate to escape Syria, and for the past 18 months they’ve been living in the settlement. Ibrahim's eldest son, a 20-year-old, is currently being detained by the Syrian government. Attempts to win his release using what little money the family has have been fruitless.
The situation is enough to send anyone’s blood pressure skyrocketing.
But there’s hope. For the past five months, Medical Teams International has been providing medical care to Ibrahim, a result of your generous donations. At dozens of Lebanon’s “informal tented settlements,” the majority of refugees come from formerly stable backgrounds, like Ibrahim’s. The most pressing health needs in the settlements are related to chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and oral decay.
Many of the refugees are like Ibrahim. Though he comes from a middle class background, he’s not allowed to work in Lebanon. Two of his girls lend a hand in a nearby field, where they're paid $3.50 a day. Still, Ibrahim cannot move freely through Lebanon without first renewing his papers every six months, at a cost of $200.
Despite the hardships, Ibrahim’s health is improving, thanks to your support. He’s learned to decrease his intake of salt and sugar and tries to avoid coffee and fats. Ibrahim acknowledges that taking medicine without a change in diet will not ultimately help his health.
Ibrahim says he believes his health has vastly improved. He can walk five kilometers without a problem. Before he received care, including dietary counseling and medications, he had chest pain and no energy.
Reflecting on the care he’s received from MTI, thanks to you, he said the staff members “are so accommodating. When I deal with them, I feel comfortable. They really take care of us.”
Thank you so much for opening your hearts to the plight of the Syrian people who are fleeing their country in record numbers. More information about MTI’s work in Lebanon can be found here. And please consider giving to the cause.