Basma, a Yemeni refugee, is working in Alhussain bin Abdallah hospital.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is delighted to announce that six refugee medical specialists, including some trained as surgeons, anesthesiologists and general doctors have started working in hospitals and clinics across Jordan as United Nations Volunteers.
The employment of these health professionals marks a major step forward in creating additional livelihood opportunities for refugees in Jordan and follows months of discussions between the Ministry of Health and UNHCR about how refugees can contribute to stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a great opportunity and at the same time, an important responsibility for refugees, who have been eager to directly contribute to the national COVID-19 response” commented UNHCR Representative to Jordan, Dominik Bartsch. “As doctors, nurses, and a wealth of other professions, there is a huge potential for refugees to give back to the country that has been generously hosting them” he added.
Back in October 2020, UNHCR put out a call to refugees who had previous experience and qualifications of working in medical professions. After receiving over 300 responses, it was clear that many were eager to put their knowledge to use as the pandemic continued to spread. The six medics initially chosen to work are all specialist doctors from Syria, Iraq and Yemen, who between them have several years of experience.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, refugees have been generously included by the Government of Jordan within the national response plan, able to access health care and medical treatment as Jordanian citizens can. Since January, they have been receiving the COVID-19 vaccine alongside their Jordanian hosts.
“As a refugee, I know what it feels like to lose your loved ones, your home, and your country. I am fortunate to have this opportunity to provide aid and to be productive. We feel our value in being active members of our communities” says Dr. Waleed who is working in Basma Hospital in Irbid. He sends a message to other refugees, “do not give up, improve yourself, hone talents, and be a productive person in the community.”
Since the pandemic is still raging across the globe, including here in Jordan, it is expected that even more refugee medics will be asked to join the initial cohort. UNHCR stands ready to support their eventual deployment in close coordination with the Ministry of Health.