Jordan has become home to millions of refugees fleeing violence in neighbouring countries and is one of the countries most affected by the Syria crisis, hosting the second-highest share of refugees per capita in the world. Of this total, 83% of Syrian refugees live in urban settings, where more than three-quarters live well below the poverty line because of limited job opportunities. In addition to refugees based in urban areas, Jordan hosts two major refugee camps: Za’atari and Azraq, with a population of more than 78,000 and 37,000, respectively.
*The above image is not of the patient below. It is a representation only
Many refugees live in neighbourhoods already facing challenges, including limited access to medical care, higher-than-average unemployment rates, substandard living conditions and overburdened schools. Although Jordan has one of the best healthcare systems in the region, the needs of vulnerable Syrian and Iraqi refugees has stretched national resources. COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation and continues to strain an already burdened national healthcare system and its infrastructure.
A shipment of four pallets of essential medicines to our in-country partner International Medical Corps, has been used to reach a population of nearly 130,000 refugees residing at Azraq and Za’atari camps, as well as those in urban areas. The shipment included a large assortment of different medications including antibiotics, topical agents and pain killers. International Medical Corps expressed that they were also particularly useful in keeping the supply of medicines for patients with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) going, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. One such patient was Amir.
Amir has been living at Za’atari camp with his wife since 2012. They were among the many civilians who were displaced from Syria due to political conflict. Unfortunately, he is unable to provide for his family, especially after he suffered a stroke in 2011, and has been on continual therapy ever since. In 2018, International Medical Corps’ team admitted Amir to the Za’atari Health Clinic, where an NCD nurse and doctor are continually following up on his treatment plan, arranging his periodic check-ups and prescribing his medicines, including those donated by IHP.
“I really appreciate the support from your staff, who have been always kind in caring for me. They continue calling and following up with me to attend my appointments and regular check-ups. Through the COVID-19 crisis they have continued my follow-up care over the phone along with regular visits, in addition to the regular [dispensing] of my hypertension and diabetes medications with no delay,” said Amir.
“I have been supported with continuous follow-up and regular planning for my treatment, and medication from my doctor and nurses, along with community health volunteers. All of them helped me [understand] my illness and recognize my need to change my lifestyle, eat healthy food and [engage in] simple exercise like walking. Through COVID-19, I have received three months’ coverage of my diabetic medication to minimize the contact and spread of the disease. The community health workers have been a great support helping us in the education of COVID-19 and minimizing its spread,” said Bachir.