Had Drs. Best & Banting been alive today, would they have been shocked by what is happening in Lebanon with insulin?

Insulin is a hormone, essential for life.

Dr. Best & Banting are our Canadian pride. We owe them the discovery of insulin about 100 years ago (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/insulin-co-discovered-by-london-ont-s-frederick-banting-100-years-ago-1.6248796)!

You may wonder why has Bambi been thinking of these two scientists since yesterday when her parents called to share the new level of the shocking reality of Lebanon of today: Insulin is not available in the pharmacies of the country! Indeed, Bambi’s dad walked to 20 pharmacies in Beirut to find insulin to his spouse (Bambi’s mom has Type II diabetes).

As her own mom said, what will the population do when a large percentage use insulin? What will families do if their child has Type I diabetes?!

Indeed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 2016, 12.6% of the Lebanese people had diabetes and many use insulin in primary care (ttps://www.who.int/diabetes/country-profiles/lbn_en.pdf).

This being said, medication has been hard to find in Lebanon for a while now (https://observers.france24.com/en/middle-east/20210730-lebanon-medicine-shortage-expats-bring-home-medication & https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210711-expat-pill-couriers-lifeline-in-medicine-starved-lebanon.

Even governments of respectable counties, like the Netherlands, have tips to travellers taking medicines to Lebanon: https://www.netherlandsworldwide.nl/countries/lebanon/travel/taking-medicines-with-you-when-travelling

As for us in Atlantic Canada, Bambi may have posted in the past a message from the Lebanese Consul in Halifax to the Maritimers wishing to send medications to their loved ones (https://www.lebaneseconsulatehalifax.com/single-post/%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%85—important-announcement). Thanks to him and to a medical clinic in his city for facilitating such a process (shown further below). Of course, for insulin, it can be more complex and Canada is not as close to Lebanon as Europe, geographically speaking.

Now, why is this happening? Hard to tell. Is it due to directly and only the financial crisis (currency lost 90% of its value): the state is bankrupt (while bank accounts of many corrupt leaders are likely full in foreign counties)? Or is is the latter in addition to perhaps the following, if Bambi understood well: The Government is now planning to remove subsidies on insulin (as they did with gas, bread, etc.). Pharmacists may be keeping this medication stored until the prices will dramatically go up to earn more money? Some out of greed… maybe others are on a selfish financial survival mode? Or maybe they are saving insulin for their own loved ones with diabetes? Could it be? Regardless, this is VERY worrisome and totally unacceptable! Will this insulin crisis be solved soon or should more people escape Lebanon to have access to a much needed medication?!

Related to the above, it is not surprising then that Bambi’s dad shared with her that Lebanon is now printing over 7000 passports EVERY day. We are talking about a population of 4.5 millions. This is a lot of passports. Will they still afford to pay for the ink and have enough material? People are scared to death, even those who cannot afford to pay for their passport fees… or those who have never considered leaving.

To conclude this post, the Lebanese people are suffocating in their own country (and this has nothing to do with Covid-19 restrictions, as they haven’t any lockdown now, thankfully. Plus, people do not panic easily over a virus that will logically mutate with this or future seasons. In addition, their problems, health-related or not, are sadly imminently more dangerous than the worrisome coronavirus). Even those who have never considered renewing their passports are doing so as they are scared and distressed. How sad to see Lebanon in this state. Ouf… but to try to end on a lighter note, here is a French song from Chantale Goya from Bambi to the children of Lebanon. Her last words are: “Children of Lebanon, like those around the world, will also live in love and peace“… and Bambi feels like adding “and in insulin… for those who need it!”.

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