The clamor of excited community members surrounded the clinic as the Mayor of Tripoli, representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Tripoli Order of Physicians, and local sheikhs arrived to the newly constructed health center accompanied by the sounds of boy scouts playing trumpets and drums.
On January 29th, 2010, the Municipality of Tripoli, represented by Mayor Rashid Jamali, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the completion of a poly-clinic constructed and equipped by International Medical Corps in Qubbeh, Tripoli. The six-room clinic, which also has a small pharmacy, was established to expand access to health services in Qubbeh and its surrounding neighborhoods, which have been historically impoverished and underserved.
International Medical Corps started working in the surrounding neighborhoods of Qubbeh in July 2008 during the height of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Alawites in the communities of Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli. Relief activities rapidly transitioned into long-term development initiatives and International Medical Corps built solid relationships with key stakeholders from the Mufti and Mayor of Tripoli to local NGOs, Scouts organizations, and schools.
Both beneficiaries and stakeholders alike noted the quality of International Medical Corps’ work, including the establishment of community centers, the physical rehabilitation of school sanitation facilities, and the implementation of a series of vocational trainings. Based on the need for quality and affordable health services in Qubbeh and on International Medical Corps’ continued presence in the community, the Municipality of Tripoli donated a space in early 2009 for International Medical Corps to rehabilitate.
With funding from the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, International Medical Corps was able to completely transform the space and to equip it with essential equipment, supplies, and medicines. News of the clinic spread quickly and throughout the six month construction period, the population from the surrounding neighborhoods frequently expressed their excitement to International Medical Corps’ representatives over the accessibility and quality of the clinic.
Recruitment of doctors, including dentists, pediatricians, cardiologists, general practitioners, and gynecologists, is currently underway and the clinic will be fully operational by the end of February. As per International Medical Corps’ Memorandum of Understanding with the Municipality of Tripoli, the clinic will be handed-over in early March and will be managed by the municipal officials going forward.
During speeches at the opening ceremony and the lunch that followed, Mayor Jamali as well as Ministry of Health representative, Dr. Mohamad Ghomrawi, thanked International Medical Corps for its sustained commitment to the development of Tripoli and its institutions.