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Nine out of 10 Syrian refugee families have at least one member with a medical condition — survey

By Khetam Malkawi - Apr 08,2014 - Last updated at Apr 08,2014

AMMAN — Nine out of 10 Syrian refugee households in Jordan have at least one family member with a medical condition, including chronic diseases, conflict-related injuries and psychological problems, according to a recent assessment.

Conducted by Care International, the assessment covered 384 Syrian families living outside refugee camps.

“CARE International voices its concern about the deteriorating health situation of the almost 600,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordan,” the organisation said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

“Syrian refugees, living outside of camps in Jordan, are increasingly unable to cover expenses for medical treatment, in particular for chronic and other costly health conditions,” the statement added.

The government, with the support of the international community, has made “considerable efforts to expand health services to attend to the needs of Syrian refugees”, according to CARE International.

Although Syrian families that are registered with the UN have access to basic health services, 23 per cent of the surveyed Syrian refugees said they resorted to private institutions because the required treatment was not available at public health facilities or there were no services in their area.

“Refugee families have to spend on average $90 per month for medical services and medication, a huge amount of money for families who have no or little means of income,” the statement said.

“Refugees in Jordan are struggling to afford healthcare and medication. There are more and more cases where people die of diseases which are usually either preventable or treatable,” CARE Jordan Country Director Salam Kanaan said.  

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said it provides healthcare services for Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR.

Hatem Azruie, the ministry’s spokesperson, said treating Syrians in public hospitals is adding pressure to health facilities.

“Despite the burden on the sector due to serving Syrian refugees, the international assistance the sector receives does not even cover expenses,” Azruie said, without providing figures on the total cost of treating Syrian refugees.

However, Interior Minister Hussein Majali has previously said that the cost of providing medication for Syrian refugees is JD23 million.

Health services provided to Syrian refugees are not confined to medication, according to Azruie, who noted that the ministry, in cooperation with UNICEF and WHO, has conducted immunisation campaigns for several diseases such as measles and polio.

According to Khaled Abu Rumman, director of the National Programme to Stop TB, 109 tuberculosis cases have been detected among Syrian refugees in the Kingdom, 40 of them among residents of the Zaatari Refugee Camp, while the rest were among those living in host communities.

The ministry supervises the medication for all refugees diagnosed with TB as part of the “Public Health Strategy among Syrian Refugees” launched earlier this year.

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