MSF ends its intervention with Syrian refugees in northern Jordan – Jordan

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has ended one of its most important interventions responding to the health and humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan. Our response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan began in 2013, with an emergency surgical hospital in Ramtha to treat war wounded crossing the borders from southern Syria.

In 2014, a 40-bed post-operative care clinic was opened in Zaatari, the largest refugee camp in Jordan. Our teams then ran mobile clinics in Rukban, on Jordan’s northeast border, caring for children under five and pregnant women.

After a needs assessment, we provided free chronic disease services in Irbid Governorate for Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable Jordanians. When COVID-19 arrived at Zaatari camp in 2020, we opened a 30-bed COVID-19 treatment center inside the camp.

“Thanks to the improved access to treatment for chronic diseases in Jordan, we have reoriented our priorities,” explains David Cantero Perez, MSF head of mission in Jordan. “We designed an exit strategy involving the mobilization of other actors and the Jordanian Ministry of Health to resume our work.”

Over the past seven years, the chronic disease treatment program has provided medical consultations to a cohort of more than 5,500 patients. Of these patients, 70% were Syrian refugees and 30% vulnerable Jordanians. The program provided patients with holistic care based on a patient-centered approach. He proposed treatments for hypertension, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

From the start of the program until the end of 2021, our teams have provided more than 80,000 medical consultations, 70,000 health awareness sessions, 10,000 physiotherapy sessions and 5,000 psychosocial support sessions.

“We have done our best to implement comprehensive care for our patients. The focus was not limited to providing medical consultations. We have also integrated nursing, physiotherapy and mental health support with a focus on health promotion, preventive care and home-based care,” says Stefanie Christina Dittmann, MSF project coordinator in Irbid, in northern Jordan.

Over the past nine years, Dr. Luna Hammad, MSF’s deputy medical coordinator in Jordan, has worked on opening and closing six MSF projects. “I still remember all the challenges we faced and the achievements we celebrated as an MSF team,” says Dr Hammad. “It was a huge job trying to cover the many needs faced by Syrian refugees in Jordan. But without a doubt, it has been rewarding to be able to support our patients over the past few years.

“Witnessing life-saving moments for those hurt by the Syrian war left a deep impression on me as a person. It really showed the impact of MSF’s work,” says Dr Hammad.

“At our Emergency Surgical Hospital in Ramtha, and in four years, we have seen at least 2,700 war-injured patients in the emergency room, admitted and treated 1,842 patients, performed over 3,700 major surgeries , performed more than 8,500 physiotherapy sessions and more than 5,900 psychosocial support sessions,” she says.

The Syrian people and the health system in Syria are still affected by a war that is entering its 11th year. We are closely monitoring the health situation of Syrian refugees in Jordan and neighboring countries, and remain committed to providing care to Syrian refugees in the Middle East region and on the move.

At the same time, our teams will readapt to the changing context in and around Syria to continue to respond to the growing humanitarian and medical needs in this war-torn country. We will also continue to work in Jordan to treat the region’s war-wounded, including Syrians, at our reconstructive surgery hospital in Amman, which has been operating since August 2006.

MSF has worked in Jordan since 2006, where we continue to treat war-wounded from across the region in our reconstructive surgery hospital. We also manage three regional offices in Amman, providing operational and institutional support to MSF projects in the MENA region. Our teams have also donated and provided training to the Jordan Medical Association. MSF received the King Hussein Humanitarian Leadership Prize in 2004.

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