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How Resilient are the Healthcare Systems in the Mediterranean?

Cases of Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia

Amidst the disrupting circumstances resulting from the global pandemic COVID-19, this new study, conducted in collaboration with the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA), aims at taking stock of the evolution of the pandemic in Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, investigating the capacity and resilience of their healthcare systems to respond to the health crisis and their level of socio-economic preparedness and policy responses.

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On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. This declaration marked the start of a crisis that was later spread across the world.

Moreover, the predictions of the implications of this pandemic, although its severity would vary from a country to another, were mainly narrowed down to the health and economic aspects. Drawing from previous conclusions in relation to pandemics, the change of the course of human history is inevitable.

With most of the countries currently witnessing the second wave of the pandemic, it became clear that most of the governments worldwide, in their response to the COVID-19 spread, showed willingness to take significant economic hit in order to save their citizens. Although the full impact of both the spread and the containment measures and restrictions taken to fight the pandemic is not clearly visible yet, many sectors had been already severely affected, if not failed to survive this phase.

The world was caught unprepared for this pandemic. With the healthcare sector being the epicenter of this unprecedented global pandemic, it becomes obvious that countries with already fragile healthcare service and infrastructure are the ones that have been affected the most. While the race to obtain the vaccine is intensifying, governments will have to re-allocate budgets to finance healthcare services. This could only be achieved through concrete steps towards recovery and inter-governmental/national support and collaboration.

This study was conducted in collaboration with the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA) to assess resilience of the healthcare systems in the Mediterranean with a focus on six countries: Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. This study sheds light on the healthcare systems in the targeted countries, their preparedness, crisis management, the role of the European Union and international community in supporting the targeted countries, and policy responses to contain the pandemic. The study also includes policy recommendations aiming at improving healthcare capacity in a medium-to-long term plan.

This study is a part of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s (KAS PolDiMed) Regional Program Political Dialogue South Mediterranean, which aims to implement cross-national projects with reference to the South (Maghreb) and East Mediterranean (Mashrek). Its objective is to strengthen the political dialogue and societal and economic integration in the Mediterranean region and to sustainably promote cooperation and partnership with the European Union.

The socio-economic consequences of the global pandemic are not yet predictable. KAS PolDiMed is going to continue its work in the region to strengthen the dialogue between economic and political stakeholders for the wellbeing of the region.

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Dr. Thomas Volk


Director KAS office Israel


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