March 21, 2013

Staff help ease gap in healthcare for Syrian refugee children 

Over the last three months, escalating violence in Syria has caused an unprecedented flow of refugees into neighbouring countries. According to the Jordanian authorities, an estimated number of 400,000 are now living in the country.

Zaatari camp, located 10 kilometres east of the Jordanian town of Mafraq, has become a makeshift home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees. Set up in July 2012, its numbers have sharply grown and the camp has exceeded its capacity of 60,000 refugees. 

Medical assistance from the local authorities and humanitarian organizations has been gradually overwhelmed, leading to important gaps and giving way to an international appeal for assistance from the government of Jordan.

“Since the camp opened, the medical needs of its population have been of great concern to MSF. Critical sectors of medical aid, such as paediatric care and immunization coverage are now at the limit of what is acceptable,” says Antoine Foucher, MSF head of mission in Jordan. 

“In response, MSF has opened a 24-hour pediatric hospital with an operational capacity of 30 beds and three emergency beds. The hospital shall receive cases of children patients of one month up to 10 years old,” says Foucher.

MSF has been present in Jordan since August 2006 and continues to receive Syrian and other patients affected by conflict at its surgical hospital in Amman, where it offers specialized surgical interventions.