Refugee medics employed in Jordanian COVID-19 response

[05-09-2021 02:27 PM]

Ammon News - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on Saturday announced that six refugee medical specialists, trained as surgeons, anesthesiologists and general doctors, have started working in hospitals and clinics across Jordan as UN volunteers, Jordantimes reported.

The employment of these health professionals marks a major step towards creating livelihood opportunities for refugees in Jordan. The decision 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, according to a UNHCR statement sent to The Jordan Times.

“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.

In October 2020, UNHCR called for refugees who had previous experience and qualifications in medical professions. After receiving over 300 responses, it was clear that many were eager to put their knowledge to use as the pandemic spread, the statement said.

The six medics initially chosen to work are all specialist doctors from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, who have all had several years of experience.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Jordan has generously included refugees in the national response plan, allowing them to access healthcare and medical treatment like Jordanian citizens. Since January, refugees have received 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 being active members of our communities,” said Dr Waleed, who is working in Basma Hospital in Irbid.

He sends a message to other refugees: “Do not give up, improve yourself, hone your talents, and be a productive person in the community.”

It is expected that more refugee medics will be asked to join the initial cohort, given the continued spread of the virus, the UN Refugee Agency said.

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