Written by Reuters
24 Nov, 2018 | 11:48 am
Reuters – Syrian refugees cannot afford medical services after the halt of health subsidies and the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR is looking for partners to find a solution, said a UNHCR official.
Over the seven years since the Syrian crisis, Jordan has hosted about 1.3 million Syrian refugees, with the number of registered Syrian refugees exceeding 650,000. With the assistance of the UNHCR, Jordan has been providing free medical services for Syrian refugees in the country.
By the end of 2016, the Jordanian public health care system had spent more than 1.5 billion dinars on health services for Syrians. At the same time, the UNHCR, which had supported Jordan in paying Syrian refugees’ medical costs, was struggling under economic pressure.
The Jordanian government switched from providing free health care services to issuing health care subsidies in November 2014, and halted the health care subsidies this year. This means that Syrian refugees are required to pay 80 percent of what foreigners pay.
“In the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the Syrian refugees were treated in the Jordanian hospital under the fees or the rate for insured Jordanians. And today their rate became 80 percent from the foreign rate, which is a little expensive for these refugees while they don’t have the money enough [to make a living] and also they don’t have enough money to support like these things. Now it’s a matter of saving life,” said Mohammed Hawari, officer of external relations of the UNHCR Jordan Branch.
In Jordan, 80 percent of Syrian refugees live outside the refugee camps that the government provides, and most of them live below the poverty line. Such a hike in medical service is beyond their capacity.
The UNHCR has launched multiple medical aid projects to make sure that families below the poverty line can afford critical medical care.
According to Hawari, the UNHCR is working with the World Health Organization and other partners to find solutions. He also called on the international community to increase support for Syrian refugees, so that they could survive the crisis and return home safely. “Here the challenge is [that] we need to find a way like to have another source of money. That’s why we are looking for our partners to find a solution, for we can continue providing the public health for all the refugees in need,” said Hawari.
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