The Libyan Ministry of Health has ordered the closure of over 50 private medical institutions in the Greater Tripoli region. This included the withdrawal of licenses from 25 of these institutions, after failing to meet legal requirements. The Ministry established a committee to monitor and evaluate the performance of the private healthcare sector. This committee’s regular meetings resulted in the formation of subcommittees across various municipalities, to assess these institutions.
The Libyan healthcare system has faced considerable challenges over the past decade, primarily due to prolonged conflict. This began following the uprising in 2011, and has significantly impaired the nation’s healthcare system, leaving it on the verge of collapse. The situation was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which struck Libya amid an ongoing conflict. Hospitals and clinics were destroyed, shortages of water and electricity became commonplace, critically undermining the quality of healthcare. Despite a ceasefire agreement in October 2020 and the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in March of the following year, the healthcare sector continues to struggle with resource deficiencies.
The severity of the healthcare crisis in Libya is evident in the data: more than a million people have acute health needs, with approximately half of the health facilities operational in 2019 now non-functional, due to the security situation and lack of government funding. This has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations, including migrants, refugees, and internally displaced persons, who face significant challenges in accessing healthcare.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has expressed particular concern for these groups, who often live in overcrowded conditions, with poor access to water and hygiene. The Covid-19 pandemic further strained the system, with a shortage of vaccines and ongoing closures of health facilities due to lack of essential resources like water, electricity, medical supplies, and staff.
The decision to close the non-compliance private healthcare institutions in Tripoli, takes place in a context where the healthcare system is already under significant strain. The government’s actions to regulate and ensure compliance with legal standards in the private sector are a step towards addressing the broader challenges facing the healthcare system in Libya. However, the situation remains dire, and requires comprehensive efforts to rebuild and stabilize the healthcare infrastructure, to meet the needs of the population effectively.