On November 13, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened a mother and child hospital in the northern Jordanian governorate of Irbid, in close collaboration with Jordanian authorities. The hospital provides services for Syrian refugees residing in the local community.
The crisis in Syria has caused more than 540,000 refugees to flee to Jordan, including more than 120,000 in Irbid governorate. Most live outside of refugee camps, straining the country's health system and other resources.
"Opening this project in Irbid aims to serve Syrian refugees living in host communities, helping to free up resources for locals," said Marc Schakal, MSF head of mission in Jordan. "The MSF strategy of intervention for Syrian refugees comes in support of Jordanian efforts, and is built to meet the crisis dynamics within the country. Our objectives are threefold: to work with refugees inside camps, with refugees in host communities, and to treat those wounded in the ongoing violence."
MSF's new 10-bed hospital provides maternal and neonatal care, as well as antenatal and postnatal outpatient consultations. In the coming weeks, MSF will also open an 18-bed pediatric ward and begin pediatric outpatient consultations. MSF has about 40 local medical and support staff and eight expatriates in Irbid.
Janine Issa, an MSF midwife from Australia, said the project is enabling Syrian refugee women to have the regular medical consultations they need during pregnancy.
"Some of them have been seeing private doctors," Issa said. "However, they had no access to this care on a regular basis ... simply because they cannot afford the consultation fees."
MSF has been present in Jordan since August 2006. It continues to receive Syrian and other patients affected by conflict at its surgical hospital in Amman, where it offers specialized surgical interventions. MSF also runs a specialized surgical project for trauma patients in the Jordanian Ministry of Health hospital in Ramtha and a pediatric hospital in Zaatari refugee camp.