Bedouin in Lebanon are estimated to represent two‐three per cent of the population. Most of them benefited from the 1994 Normalisation Law and are domiciled there. Being in rural areas and under‐privileged neighbourhoods, Bedouin continue to suffer from problems like social exclusion and poor health care provision. This paper assesses the awareness and knowledge of policy makers of the health policies and health status of the Bedouin community in Lebanon. In‐depth interviews were conducted with nine health policy makers from government, private and non‐government organisation sectors, and UN agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF) on topics of Bedouin status and livelihood, health policies and current health provision and use in reproductive and child health, and interventions to improve access to and quality of reproductive and child health and well‐being. Most of the policy makers interviewed had little or no knowledge of Bedouin population estimates, identity status and normalisation, geographical distribution in the rural peripheral areas of Lebanon, range of mobility, common health problems, or provision and use of health services. Policy makers said they had no current or future plans for health policies or procedures for the Bedouin community, but expressed willingness to contribute to any interventions to improve Bedouin health and well‐being. In Lebanon, where the public health sector is feeble and inequitable, mostly affecting marginalised and underprivileged communities including the Bedouin, policy makers hold unrealistic stereotypes about Bedouin and Bedouin health issues, and there are no comprehensive health policies that integrate Bedouin. It is essential that policy makers be more sensitised to and aware of the status of Bedouin in Lebanon, and advocacy and lobbying be initiated to include Bedouin health in government health and social policies.
Kak, F. (2010), "Policy Makers and Bedouin Health Provision", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 31-35. https://doi.org/10.5042/ijmhsc.2011.0062Download as .RIS
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