TBHF pledges $2.37 million to reconstruct 142-year-old St. George Hospital damaged in Beirut explosion

• Project falls under the Salam Beirut initiative launched by HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi in August
• The 142-year-old non-profit St. George Hospital ceased operations after being damaged in the devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital
• Newly built and fitted out ERT unit at SGHUMC will be named after “The Big Heart Foundation”

Mariam Al Hamadi: Boosting this prestigious non-profit medical institution’s capacities will be crucial as the nation gears up to combat next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For immediate release
Sharjah, 15 December, 2020

Sharjah-based global humanitarian organization, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), has announced the allocation of US$2,369,300 (8,702,912 AED) to support the reconstruction of the emergency and trauma (ERT) unit of the Saint George Hospital University Medical Center (SGHUMC) in Beirut that was rendered inoperative by the devastating explosion that shook the Lebanese capital in August 2020.

The project falls under the Salam Beirut initiative, an emergency aid and relief campaign launched by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qassimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children at UNHCR, to boost local and internationally aided relief operations directed towards bringing normalcy back to the city of Beirut.

The reconstruction project was launched in December and is expected to be completed in three months, and will utilize TBHF’s funding for both infrastructural development as well as for the purchase of medical and administrative equipment. Once complete, the newly built and fitted out ERT unit at SGHUMC which will be named after “ The Big Heart Foundation” is expected to increase its capacity to treat 40,000 patients per year, which will allow the non-profit medical institution to expand its outreach and cater to the needs of the surrounding community.

A section of TBHF’s funding will be used for the development of a new paediatric section that will include three regular paediatric cubicles, one paediatric resuscitation room and one paediatric isolation room. An isolation unit of international standards equipped to deal with all kinds of possible outbreaks including NRBC (Nuclear, Radiological, Biological and Chemical) will be constructed as part of the project, which will be equipped with the latest medical equipment.

SGHUMC is a cornerstone, non-profit hospital that has served its community for 142 years. Standing only 900 metres away from the epicentre of the Port Beirut blast, it became non-operational for the first time since its establishment in 1878.

Speaking about why Salam Beirut identified this hospital reconstruction project as one of its benefactors, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “Saint George Hospital University Medical Center (SGHUMC) is a highly respected institution, one that embodies a strong sense of civic pride. TBHF chose SGHUMC for its historical and social relevance in the city of Beirut and beyond. A prestigious humanitarian landmark, it represents a tangible heritage of the city’s cultural identity and has etched itself into the fabric of the Lebanese community, which it has been serving for more than a century. SGHUMC’s long-standing history in delivering access to quality, free healthcare services, has made the 142-year-old non-profit hospital a haven for patients who are unable to afford the high costs of treatment for several ailments.”

She added: “Boosting this prestigious non-profit medical institution’s capacities falls in line with Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qassimi’s consistent and strategic efforts to improve people’s access to healthcare, especially for those who cannot afford expensive medical care, in this region and across the world. For our shared humanitarian goals and efforts to serve the maximum people in need with compassion and generosity, SGHUMC and TBHF are natural partners, and thus supporting this project is an extension of TBHF’s moral responsibility. At TBHF, we believe that healthy communities are the foundation of sustainable peace and progress, and good, affordable and accessible medical care are a must to ensure this.”