Jordan: Reconstructive Surgery Hospital for War Victims Opens in Amman

Enass Abu Khalaf-Tuffaha/MSF

AMMAN, JORDAN—Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) officially opened a newly upgraded reconstructive surgery hospital today in Amman to provide improved treatment to war-wounded patients from across the region.

MSF first established a specialized surgery project in Amman in 2006 to care for victims of the war in Iraq, which it later expanded to receive patients from Iraq, Gaza, Yemen, and Syria. This year, MSF enhanced the project by moving into another hospital structure and renovating it.

"In this new and expanded facility, our highly trained and specialized medical teams from the region are able to improve the quality of care provided to our patients," said Marc Schakal, MSF head of mission in Amman. "Our highest patient numbers are currently from Syria, followed by Yemen and Iraq. The people of these countries have already witnessed and experienced so much suffering."

The MSF Specialized Hospital for Reconstructive Surgery provides a comprehensive care package for its patients, which includes physiotherapy and psychosocial support alongside surgical interventions. Patients are also given accommodation, now available on site in the new location, and financial travel assistance to reach the hospital and return home after or in between treatments, if their care plan is staggered over time. Patients often arrive with a family member to assist their care and recovery if needed.

Since 2006, MSF has admitted more than 3,700 patients and conducted over 8,238 surgeries at its project in Amman. Cases are identified by a network of medical liaison officers in the patients' countries of origin. However, these numbers represent only a very small fraction of the needs for specialized surgery in the region.

"While they may receive initial care for their wounds, our patients do not usually have access to such specialized surgical procedures in their home countries, which are mostly at war," said Dr. Ashraf Al Bostanji, head surgeon. "These hard-to-reach services include orthopedic, maxillofacial, and plastic reconstructive surgery, which we provide at no cost to the patients and lower running costs than the private sector."

The hospital is staffed by local and international experts in their fields.

"The surgical techniques adopted in this project are world-class," said Dr. Ashraf. "For instance, our team conducts microsurgeries, which involves three main types of surgeries: free flaps, nerve grafting, and hand surgery. What makes this project stand out is implementing such a high level of technical expertise for war victims in the humanitarian medical field."

MSF has conducted more than 134,620 physiotherapy procedures and 45,660 psychosocial sessions in Amman since 2006. Nahla Fadel, a patient from Iraq, arrived in 2013 and underwent 24 surgeries.

"When I arrived, the mobility of my severely burned hands was so limited that I couldn't comb the hair of my child or even feed him," she said. "Now, after two years of surgeries with MSF, my hand mobility is almost back to normal."

MSF has been present in Jordan since 2006. In 2013 it set up a mother and child health care project in Irbid, which also offers mental health support, and an emergency trauma project in Ramtha close to the Syrian border.

MSF also runs clinics in Irbid for noncommunicable diseases and a step-down unit in Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees. For the past two years it has been sending medical donations including surgical kits to health care facilities in the South of Syria.

MSF is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender, or political affiliation.

Enass Abu Khalaf-Tuffaha/MSF