Turkey will continue its support to Lebanon to help overcome problems facing the country's health sector, Lebanese Health Minister Firas Abyad said on Tuesday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abyad hailed Turkey as an “important and strong” country that has made progress in the health sector.
Since late 2019, Lebanon has been facing a deep economic crisis, amid a currency devaluation and shortages of fuel and medicines.
Lebanese protesters on Monday blocked roads in a number of cities in protest of the deteriorating living and economic conditions in the country.
Abyad said his country's economic woes over the past two years have affected many sectors, including the health sector.
"Turkey has been standing by Lebanon for many years and continues to support us,” the minister said. “Our future cooperation between the two countries in the health field looks very bright.”
The Lebanese minister revealed that his country's prime minister, Najib Mikati, will visit Turkey for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Turkey is showing a supportive approach to Lebanon in these difficult times through very important aid to end the crisis," he said.
He noted that he held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on several issues related to the Lebanese health ministry during the top Turkish diplomat's visit to Lebanon in mid-November.
Abyad said Cavusoglu delivered a message of support from President Erdogan to Lebanon.
The two sides also discussed the necessity of opening a multi-million-dollar hospital for the treatment of trauma and burn victims in the southern city of Sidon built with Turkish support.
“We hope to open the hospital in a few months,” Abyad said.
"We know that the pharmaceutical sector is very strong in Turkey, and we also discussed this issue in our meeting about drug prices in Turkey, which seems reasonable for Lebanon in these circumstances."
The Banque du Liban supports the import of medicines to avoid a rise in their prices by covering the difference between the official and unofficial exchange rates of the dollar.
However, the continued decline of the Lebanese lira meant subsidies had to be lifted on many medicines, with the exception of medicines for incurable and chronic diseases, infant formula, and vaccines among a few others.