Approximately 4.8 million people have fled Syria since war broke out in 2011. Many have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Jordan, which is now home to more than 650,000 Syrian refugees.
With a high rate of chronic health conditions, this population requires a range of medical services. For instance, due to hot, dry weather and generally harsh living conditions, skin infections are prevalent but access to dermatological care is limited.
One organization working to address the health needs of Jordan’s refugee population is the Jordan Aid Health Society (JHAS). Offering services that range from primary to reproductive healthcare, JHAS attends to the country’s refugee population without regard to religion, race, ethnicity or nationality.
Jordan Health Aid Society staff are pictured here at the Zarqa clinic, which serves a large number of the country’s refugees.
Helping the Helpers
To support the crucial work of JHAS, along with other partners worldwide, Direct Relief and Unilever’s Vaseline® brand formed the Vaseline® Healing Project. The project’s goal is to heal the skin of 5 million people living in crisis and disaster by 2020. A key component of the project is sending dermatologists and doctors to areas of need around the world. On these medical missions, all treatment and prescription medicines are provided for free.
In 2016, over 11,000 patients were treated and nearly 6,200 dermatological evaluations were performed during medical missions facilitated by the Vaseline Healing Project.
In September 2016, Vaseline and Direct Relief held a medical mission in Jordan in partnership with JHAS. Three dermatologists from a private practice in Amman were brought in to work alongside JHAS doctors in six clinics and one mobile medical unit.
Refugees from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and Somalia were treated in various locations around the country, including the Zarqa clinic. Nearly 20 percent of the patients evaluated were treated for impetigo, a highly contagious skin infection, and approximately eight percent were treated for scabies, an infection that spreads quickly in crowded areas like refugee camps. In total, 303 dermatology evaluations were performed over the course of three days.
As the refugee crisis continues, Direct Relief is committed to helping those that help others. In addition to JHAS, Direct Relief supports the following groups that are actively working to improve the lives of refugees in Syria and beyond:
- American Near East Refugee Aid
- PHM CEE
- Royal Health Awareness Society
- Salaam Cultural Museum
- Syrian American Medical Society
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