First Lebanese physician certified as a Palliative Care Specialist

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Dr. Hibah Osman, president and medical director for Balsam, completed the speciality training last week (16 September) in a country which only officially recognised palliative care on 28 June 2013.

The Lebanese Centre for Palliative Care – Balsam – hopes that other physicians will soon follow in Dr Osman’s footsteps and therefore increase this speciality within Lebanon.

The non-governmental organisation works to relieve patient suffering and improve quality of life. Due to its infancy, palliative care is underdeveloped in Lebanon and in surrounding regions.

Balsam reports that very few organisations and physicians are currently able to offer services to relieve the avoidable suffering of seriously ill patients and their families.

Of the approximately 25,000 people who will die in Lebanon this year, about 90% will die after a protracted illness. Many of them will experience some degree of suffering due to pain or other distressing symptoms.

A spokesperson for Balsam said: “Although medicine provides the tools to relieve much of the suffering that patients experience towards the end of life, we rarely use them in our current medical practice. As the practice of palliative medicine develops in Lebanon, more patients will benefit from this approach to medical care.

“Balsam – with all its staff, supporters, and friends – is proud of Dr. Hibah Osman’s accomplishment hoping that this new milestone will encourage other physicians in Lebanon interested in palliative care to obtain their certifications.”

To find out more about the work of Balsam and the growing speciality of palliative care in Lebanon, visit the Balsam website.

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