A happy group of kids and IFH staff at Holy Dome in Deir Alla pose for a photo
Amman, Jordan (24 November 2013) – A November report from UNHCR found that over two-thirds of Syrian refugees live in Jordanian communities outside of camps, and a study of the needs of this population by the Institute for Family Health (IFH) found that the same group experienced high rates of a variety of health problems resulting from the conflict and their subsequent displacement. The need for psychosocial and health interventions in host communities has never been greater, and IFH is addressing this need through targeted relationships with community-based organizations across Jordan.
A recent visit by key members of the Refugees International team to see IFH's work with Al Sakhra Al Musharrafa Charity Organization ("the Holy Dome Charity") in Deir Alla highlighted this model of community health care which involves collaboration with community-based organizations. IFH works with the organization on a UNFPA-funded program that comprises raising awareness about and improving access to services and treatment related to reproductive health, gender-based violence (GBV), psychosocial treatment, and other areas – crucial services that are not available in the underserved Jordan Valley area.
The IFH team leads a group of Syrian and Jordanian children, some of which are deaf and mute, in an art project
The September study by IFH found that war-related trauma affects men and women in different ways: while domestic and sexual abuse is largely experienced by women and children, torture survivors are generally male. Access to both male and female health professionals through this program helps improve the community's willingness to take part in the services offered by the program. A local doctor and a midwife trained by IFH provide reproductive health care, family planning advice, and psychosocial assistance to an average of 30 female patients a day. In addition to general health care, men also take part in services led by a male counselor, discussing trauma-related issues, relationship stress, and guidance for adolescent males going through puberty.
Disabled and non-disabled Syrian and Jordanian children play a game together at Holy Dome in Deir Alla
IFH has been able to address those in need in poor and underserved areas like the Jordan Valley, expanding the reach of crucial health programs to not only Syrian refugees, but to other local residents as well. Play-based therapy allows young Syrian and Jordanian children to interact and learn games together, reducing the feelings of isolation that some refugees experience, and a women's support group for GBV – now expanding to the participants' personal homes with their passion and initiative – allows local women from all backgrounds to find a common ground, counsel, and console each other. "When the Syrians came to Deir Alla, they became our family," Al Sakhra Al Musharrafa Director Yousef Al Jitawi explains warmly. "It is our duty to take on their needs and make them a part of our community."