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The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Syrian refugees and Jordan's health sector

May 03,2020 - Last updated at May 03,2020

Since the war in Syria began, more than a million Syrian refugees have come to Jordan. Syrian refugees constitute 20 per cent of Jordan’s population.

Jordan shares history, culture and a long open border with Syria. Jordan provides access to preventative and curative services to Syrian refugees.

Over 70 per cent of Syrian refugees are residing among host Jordanian communities. Only 30 per cent of the Syrian refugees reside in camps, which started in early 2012; the largest camp is Zaateri, with an estimated population of 120,000. In the camps, the UNHCR and other partners, with the support of the Ministry of Health (MoH), provide health and humanitarian support. However, for the larger proportion of refugees outside the camps, not all needs can be adequately addressed. The MoH provides full access to health services for the Syrians outside camps along with the local Jordanian population. Additionally, some non-governmental organisations and private sector practitioners also deliver services to Syrian refugees outside the camps.

Most of the refugees' demand is located in the four northern governorates, and in Amman where specialty care can be found.

Thanks to the MoH's vigilance and support from the WHO, UNICEF and other partners, to date no major infectious disease epidemics have occurred, but outbreaks appeared and risks are increasing.

It should be stressed that the WHO and UN organisations reports bring attention to preparedness and the provision of healthcare for refugees and migrants, in Europe, Jordan and in other areas affected by this regional crisis, for better planning and active support.

At the present COVID-19 pandemic, the government, military, police, civil defence, security forces and the MoH are doing their best to defeat this monster, from the beginning of the pandemic till now there is about 460 cases and nine0 deaths only, with no cases in the refugee camps.   

Without additional support to respond to this COVID-19 pandemic, Jordan's health sector will suffer not just the immediate loss of life and health among Syrians and Jordanians, but will also see a major erosion of the gains Jordan has made over decades of investment in health and health systems.

The people and the government are committed to assisting Syrians.

We need support from the international community to respond to the many and additional health and living needs of Syrian refugees.

Jordan is committed to continuing to care for refugees from Syria and other countries, but the system is dangerously overstretched. Excessive demands on our health system pose risks to our health status and social stability. We are committed to the health of both Syrians and Jordanians. We invite the international community to join us and assist in this effort particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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