SEASON 1, EPISODE 5:
The challenge of keeping 80,000 people healthy in Za’atari Camp
See how UNHCR provides health and medical support to people like Abdul, Fatima and their family in Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.
Assistant Public Health Officer Dina Jardenah explains how your support helps UNHCR meet some of the complex challenges involved in keeping refugees living in the camp healthy.
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Did you know that UNHCR teams provide a variety of medical care, tending to pregnant women and infants, people with chronic illnesses, disabilities and mobility problems, as well as stopping viruses that spread rapidly in the young and very old?
With 80,000 people to look after, and the potential of 80,000 different health needs, your support is providing vital medical care in Za’atari refugee camp.
You are also helping to stop and contain deadly outbreaks of diseases like cholera or typhoid. In Za’atari, preventing disease is every bit as important as treating people who might already be ill.
“Refugees are like everybody else: we all need medical care.” Dina Jardaneh, Assistant Public Health Officer, tells us about her work at a health clinic in Za’atari.
“If you look at a cross-section of the population anywhere in the world, you’d find a huge range of medical needs and conditions. So one of the biggest challenges here in Za’atari is making sure everybody has access to the specific care or treatment they need.
“It’s sometimes forgotten that, just like people in any population, there will be a number of refugees with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart conditions or cancer. It’s my job to make sure they’re provided with the care they need. We have a 55-bed hospital here in camp, but not the facilities to do everything, so this means sometimes referring people with life-threatening conditions to hospitals in Jordan.
“And of course there are people with disabilities who might need mobility aids or physiotherapy. There are people with mental health conditions who might need medication or counseling. The Syrian health care system has been destroyed so we need to make sure all the children get their vaccinations. And we have to put systems in place to make sure we’re on top of infectious diseases like measles, so there are no serious outbreaks.
“We also, of course, have people with war wounds. Some need their dressings changed every day and may not be able to come to the clinic – so we have to make sure they’re getting help too.
“There’s a huge range of challenges but I am particularly passionate about ante and post-natal care. Whether or not a woman is a refugee, they have the right to give birth in a safe environment, with skilled health workers on hand.
“It’s hard work. We work long hours, we’re in the desert and it’s hard to maintain energy levels. But there’s nothing more rewarding than helping vulnerable people who are in so much need.”
14,000 — average number of health consultations per week
80 births per week, 1 delivery unit
1 hospital with 55 beds and 10 healthcare centers
150 community health volunteers
100% of deliveries are attended by skilled personnel
Updated as of August 2017