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Vaccination Acts As a Solution to PovertyOver the past few years, the health status of many developing countries has improved significantly as the goal of increased accessibility and affordability of basic healthcare services became attainable across different regions of the world. Recently, researchers at Harvard University have debated the fact that vaccination is the key solution for not only lowering the number of deaths in developing countries, but also for alleviating the burden of medical expenses inflicted by poverty on the population and government.

The study was carried out by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health faculty, and was published in the journal of Health Affairs. Results highlighted that investments in preventive healthcare, particularly immunization which allow individuals to have access to 10 types of vaccines (measles, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, yellow fever, rotavirus, rubella, Hib, pneumococcus, Neisseria menpngitidis and Japanese encephalitis) in 41 low-and-middle-income countries, could prevent a total of 36 million deaths over a period of 15 years.

It was also seen that 24 million cases of medical impoverishment could be prevented since most out-of-pocket medical expenses are usually associated with vaccination services in third world countries.

How Vaccination Acts As a Solution to Poverty

The following are five ways of how vaccination acts as a solution to poverty:

  1. Positive Economic ImpactAccording to Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the Vaccine Alliance-GAVI, vaccines not only save lives, but also generate huge economic impacts for families, communities and society at large. He further explained his point of view by stating that a healthy child who has received all of his/her vaccination will become a productive member of society and can then contribute positively to the prosperity of the country. The family of vaccinated children can also avoid any strenuous costs associated with vaccine-preventable diseases.
  2. Increased Health Equity

    By legislating new policies allowing people to afford the necessary vaccinations, poverty will eventually decrease, leading to improved equity on the global development agenda. New vaccination policies could be considered as a milestone contributing to the process of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage.

  3. Reduced Mortality Rates

    Poverty-related statistics reveal that people living in extreme poverty tend to benefit the most from increased access to vaccines since they are more susceptible to preventable infectious diseases. Increasing their access to complete vaccine doses can lower their risk of contracting deadly communicable diseases, and thus lower their overall healthcare costs.

  4. Increased Life-Expectancy

    A study conducted by John Hopkins University in 2016 found that every $1 spent on immunization efforts is equivalent to $16 saved on healthcare costs. Therefore, the more the population saves money by avoiding additional healthcare costs, the higher its productivity and income due to improved health. As a result, people are offered the opportunity to lead longer, healthier lives, and the return on investment rises to $44 per $1 spent on vaccines.

  5. Reduced Burden of Preventable Infectious DiseasesHepatitis B was estimated to cause 14 million cases of medical impoverishment per year, while measles and meningitis A generated 5 million and 3 million cases of poverty per year, respectively; Rotavirus was also set to cause 242,000 poverty cases per year. By providing people with the necessary vaccines, morbidity and mortality rates will decline significantly and thus lead to overall reduced poverty rates. Currently, measles vaccine is projected to prevent around 22 million deaths each year.

The assumption that vaccination acts as a solution to poverty is a highly supported public health issue that has caught the attention of medical professionals and public health workers all over the world. Such a powerful primary prevention method should be widely dispersed among the public in order to initiate the start of a bright, equitable future and a world where poverty is defeated.

– Lea Sacca
Photo: Flickr

The Fight Against Measles and Polio in Yemen
After two-and-a-half years of war, Yemen is left in ruins and struggling to overcome health, social and economic problems within the country. Demolished hospitals, crippled bridges, bombed industries, and poor sanitation and nutrition contribute to the devastating situation imparted by the war on the country and its citizens.

A Failing Healthcare System in Yemen

The health status of the population in Yemen is currently described as “catastrophic.” Damage from the war has transformed the nation into a fertile environment for cholera due to the highly contaminated water, which amplified the proliferation of fecal bacterial infections.

Since sewage systems have failed and garbage has piled up to cover entire neighborhoods and regions of the country, more Yemenis rely on polluted water sources for drinking and cooking. Alongside cholera, a quarter of all health facilities in Yemen are no longer operating or have already closed down; this situation escalated rates of morbidity and mortality among citizens, particularly those needing surgery or emergency care such as patients with chronic kidney failure who are dependent on life-saving support.

The shortage of qualified health professionals and physicians created a gap in primary healthcare — especially among children — as lower immunization rates led to a significant rise in the number of polio and measles cases reported.

To create a temporary and effective solution, the World Health Organization (WHO) trained more than 50 mobile medical teams and 20 fixed emergency care teams to provide people with increased access to primary health care services, and to support the operation of 72 health facilities as a way to prevent their closure.

The Fight Against Measles and Polio in Yemen

On August 15, 2017, WHO launched the fight against measles and polio in Yemen through its nationwide vaccination campaign. More than 3.9 million children under 5 years go age were vaccinated against polio and around 860,000 children aged 6 months to 15 years were immunized against measles in high-risk areas.

UNICEF also joined efforts toward the fight against measles and polio in Yemen by collaborating with WHO to ensure effective vaccination interventions for vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women. Julien Harneis, UNICEF Representative in Yemen, asserted that UNICEF’s mobile teams and staffs sacrifice their lives and endanger their health during their daily outreach activities within the community due to the hazardous conditions present in the country.

The medical and public health professionals work to overcome all obstacles in preventing additional deaths and morbidities associated with preventable diseases such as polio and measles.

Dr. Gamila Hibatulla, Nutrition and Health Officer for UNICEF in Aden-Yemen, explained that mobile teams rely on public sites, such as mosques, to deliver necessary health services. Vaccination is a central goal to both international agencies of WHO & UNICEF so as to prevent and manage any infectious diseases that could create an additional burden for the government and a crumbling healthcare system. Ms. Hibatulla praised the parents of young children for collaborating with the agency’s work by ensuring that their kids get immunized against serious diseases.

Challenges & Setbacks

Despite the national campaign’s accomplishments in the fight against measles and polio in Yemen, Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, the WHO Representative from Yemen, stated that the positive results generated from the campaign were only “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of the international organization’s response. According to Dr. Shadoul, only a portion of the population was reached by these efforts, as a result of limited funding and failure to reach people residing in war zone areas.

Future plans are being developed to render vaccination and primary prevention efforts more effective, and through continuous coordination, cooperation and collaboration between international agencies and the Yemeni community at large, such a goal can be obtained.

– Lea Sacca

Photo: Flickr

mental health in sub-Saharan AfricaIn sub-Saharan Africa, where communicable diseases are common, mental disorders make up about 10 percent of the total burden of disease, according to the World Health Organization. There has been little research related to mental health in poorer countries in comparison to the investment in non-mental health.

There are multiple factors that affect the lack of treatment and preventive strategies for mental disorders: financial scarcity, unqualified staff and a lack of effective public health policy. However, there are effective measures that can help with the prevalence of mental health in sub-Saharan Africa.

There is a connection between the mental and physical health of an individual. Poor mental health can negatively impact physical health because it can increase the risk of chronic diseases or simply leave an individual feeling incapable of taking care of their wellbeing. By improving mental health in sub-Saharan Africa, there could be a noticeable increase in overall health as well.

For example, one effort is through the collaboration of “research institutions and ministries of health in Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and South Africa, with partners in Britain and the WHO that was formed in 2011 to expand mental health services in low and middle-income countries”, according to the Rand Corporation.

The main goal of this project is to measure how impactful mental health programs would be in primary healthcare settings such as hospitals and clinics. An area like sub-Saharan Africa would be included in the range of countries that require the expansion of mental health services.

Generating more research and elaborating on the issue of mental health is vitally important because it means that the right resources will be assigned towards addressing the needs of those with a mental illness. It will also be important in the future to increase funding for mental health programs and for the international community and national government to contribute to the above factors that affect the lack of treatment and preventive strategies for mental disorders.

Collaboration is necessary in order to obtain all of the tools for combating mental health in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout the entire world.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

The Politics and Diplomacy of Global Health
“Pure science is not pure anymore; if it ever was,” says former U.S. diplomat Judith Kaufmann. The Borgen Project recently had the opportunity to attend a lecture given by Kaufman where she discussed her views on the politics and diplomacy of global health. She spoke of global health issues and how they have evolved, and analyzed multiple examples of these issues in recent years. She had one overall message: “Every skill is needed, and everyone can make an impact.”

 

Political Background

Kaufmann graduated from Miami University in 1969 with a degree in Political Science. In her own words, she says she was “backed into public health.” She had no prior experience in these fields, but she had been a foreign service officer and knew how to interact within and between countries. When she was hired in the field of public health, she learned what was necessary about each health issue to craft proper policy.

She was told, “you can’t always teach doctors diplomacy.” She went on to work for the State Department, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Health Organization; she now acts as an independent consultant for groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Past Global Issues

Kaufmann gave several examples of how multiple disciplines and skill sets have been required to tackle issues involving global health. The first instance involves the Nigerian polio vaccine boycott. In 2003, states in Northern Nigeria boycotted the polio vaccine introduced to the area by the World Health Organization that resulted in a resurgence of the disease.

WHO did this due to a lack of trust in the organization caused by divisions within the Islamic community and between the North and South. According to Kaufmann, the WHO believed “Nigeria would be easy,” and waited until later in the campaign to target the country because it didn’t factor in the Nigerian history of conflict and division.

Kaufmann believes this could have been prevented if there had been someone involved in the vaccination campaign actually familiar with the culture of the region.

Another example she gave involving the politics and diplomacy of global health occurred within the United States. She describes how the second Bush administration used politics to gain funding for the emergency plan for HIV/AIDS relief.

The President continued his campaign strategy of “compassionate conservatism,” but what really gained support for the program, in Kaufmann’s opinion, was his choice to frame the issue as a matter of national security. According to Kaufmann, “he realized you have to appeal to emotion and rationale.”

 

The Path Forward

In Kaufman’s view, the politics and diplomacy of global health will only continue to grow in complexity. As an example, she cites China’s “New Silk Road” project and the health impacts on the multiple countries it passes through, and that these must be addressed by the World Health Organization in order for the project to move forward.

She also addressed the problem with U.S. apathy towards global health. In her words, “support for global health has flatlined in the United States.” Her hope is that the youth continue to care about and give their skills to addressing global health because “the problems have gotten too big and global health is too complex to be left only to doctors.”

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

Screening Breast Cancer in EthiopiaBreast cancer is the most common cancer found in females in both developed and developing countries. The occurrence of this cancer is soaring in developing countries due to factors such as increases in life expectancy, the expansion of urbanization and the endorsement of a more Western lifestyle. Breast cancer in Ethiopia is becoming the most prevalent disease among Ethiopian women, surpassing cervical cancer.

Many factors are known to contribute to breast cancer in women, such as the age at which women deliver children, poor diet, lack of physical exercise, uncontrolled consumption of alcohol and the lifestyle a woman lives.

Some of these factors might be reduced with lifestyle changes. However, prevention cannot eliminate the majority of breast cancer diagnosed in very late stages in low and middle-income communities. Early detection is important in order to improve breast cancer outcomes.

Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) is a global partnership comprised of national governments, corporations, foundations and NGOs, all working with the same intent: to reduce deaths caused by cervical and breast cancer in low- and middle-income communities.

By mobilizing resources from its cohorts, PRRR and its collaborators work on interventions ranging from prevention to medical care by educating the community about cancer, vaccinating young girls against HPV, screening women for breast cancer and cervical cancer and increasing access to treatments.

PRRR began supporting the government of Ethiopia in 2014 with the formation of a comprehensive cancer control program. With backing from PRRR and the Mathiwos Wondu Ye-Ethiopia Cancer Society, the first National Cancer-Control Plan (NCCP) was launched in October 2015 by Ethiopia’s first lady, Roman Tesfaye.

The plan is to launch five cancer treatment centers in the country, relieving the burden on the Tikur Ambessa Hospital in Addis Ababa. The government has committed $12 million to develop these centers at teaching hospitals in the areas of Mek’ele, Gondar, Jima, Hawassa and Haromaya.

The NCCP also called for cancer screenings to be offered in all of Ethiopia at locations known as “Screen-and-Treat” sites, which will be available in 118 locations. PRRR is pleased to contribute technological and monetary assistance to complement the investments of the Ethiopian government to implement this vision.

PRRR is also backing the government of Ethiopia in opening more cervical and breast cancer screening locations in the two most populated regions and Addis Ababa.

With foundations like Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon breaking ground in Ethiopia where there are not many resources available to most women, the awareness of breast cancer in Ethiopia is becoming much greater. With continued work, more progress will be made in the prevention and early detection of the disease.

– Zainab Adebayo

Photo: Google

Accomplishments of Doctors Without Borders
As poverty is addressed around the world, there is a need for people in all kinds of specialties but especially the medical field. 
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, is an international medical humanitarian organization helping people from over 60 countries threatened by violence, conflict, neglect, natural disasters, epidemics, health emergencies and exclusion from healthcare.

They address areas where the need is greatest, unbiasedly delivering emergency medical aid. There have been many accomplishments of Doctors Without Borders, but here are three of their most recent projects:

 

1. Hospital in Tasnimarkhola 

Doctors Without Borders constructed a new hospital in Tasnimarkhola camp, Bangladesh in three weeks. The hospital has an emergency room, an intensive care unit, a pharmacy and sterilization unit. In its first month of operation, MSF staff admitted 220 patients with more than half needing treatment for measles.

 

2. Medical Assistance to Refugees

MSF provided medical assistance to refugees and migrants in the central Mediterranean. At sea, the search and rescue vessel Aquarius — run by MSF in cooperation with humanitarian organization SOS MEDITERRANEE — rescued 3,645 people and brought those rescued to ports of safety in Italy.

Doctors Without Borders also provided psychological first-aid after tragic rescues while also running several mental health and healthcare projects in Sicily. In Libya, the MSF teams provided medical assistance to refugees and migrants that were arbitrarily held in detention centers nominally under the control of the Ministry of Interior.

 

3. Treatment of War-Wounded People in Taiz 

Doctors Without Borders has a team treating war-wounded people in Taiz. Currently, Taiz is one of the most intense conflict zones in the country with extremely high humanitarian needs. Doctors Without Borders are one of the few medical organizations in Taiz who remain committed to working in Yemen.

These three specific accomplishments of Doctors Without Borders are some of many; the staff continuously works hard, laborious hours to save the lives of those affected by poverty.

War, disease and lack of resources are major contributing factors of poverty, and Doctors Without Borders have been able to impact these areas beyond its immediate activities, reaching populations or developing the use of practices in ways that have far-reaching and lasting consequences (see MSF-USA’s 2012 Annual Report). 

The accomplishments of Doctors Without Borders are so powerful because so many people are committed to addressing the great needs of poverty and bringing hope to those around the world.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

healthcare in UgandaResidents of Uganda’s rural areas are challenged in finding accessible healthcare facilities. Without organized transportation, many Ugandans must walk or ride their bicycles to a health center. However, many Ugandan health centers cannot guarantee having the medicines or other services necessary to these patients. Fortunately, efforts are being made to improve healthcare in Uganda.

In June 2017, President Yoweri Museveni launched work on a $250 million hospital that will be located in Lubowa. The hospital will ensure that Ugandans no longer have to travel abroad for organ transplants, cancer treatment and heart surgery. The hospital will operate as a 264-bed facility with ultramodern health facilities. President Museveni adds that the hospital could promote Uganda as a destination for medical tourism.

In September 2017, the Merck Foundation committed to a long-term partnership with Uganda’s government that could build the country’s healthcare capacity. The partnership will specifically focus on Ugandans’ struggles with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and infertility. The Merck Foundation also emphasized a commitment to work with Uganda’s Ministry of Health because of the country’s great strides in building regional centers of excellence for fertility and cancer.

The Merck Foundation and Uganda’s Ministry of Health also visited western Uganda’s rural villages where a campaign has established various projects to support infertile women. The Merck Foundation gave an oxen plow, poultry farms and table banking projects to the women in order to socially and economically empower them. “One of my most fulfilling moments is seeing these childless women lead happy and independent lives,” said Merck Foundation CEO Dr. Rasha Kelej to Africa Business Communities.

The Merck Foundation also committed to supporting the training of embryologists and fertility specialists at Uganda’s new Women Maternal Hospital. The organization will also support the hospital’s establishment of Uganda’s first public IVF center. The center aims to improve access to cost-effective fertility care across Uganda and the rest of Africa.

In November 2017, XSML (Central and East Africa’s fund managing company) announced plans to finance Ecopharm, a Ugandan medical center. “With this financing, Ecopharm will be able to reach out with additional pharmacies in new neighborhoods in Kampala,” said Jarl Heijstee, XSML’s managing partner. XSML’s financing will also help Ecopharm serve Uganda’s thousands of customers with high-quality pharmaceuticals.

Healthcare in Uganda has become a growing concern for the U.S. as well. On Jan. 3, 2018, the U.S. Agency for International Development launched a $28.3 million activity to strengthen the Acholi region’s health services. The Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Northern Uganda, Acholi (RHITES-Acholi) activity will increase Uganda’s healthcare provider availability, promote effective equipment maintenance and improve health services management.

On Jan. 16, 2018, the musician Diddy announced plans to donate $200,000 to the Unforgettable healthcare campaign that is improving Uganda’s Suubi “Hope” Health Center. This initiative was begun by French Montana after filming the video for “Unforgettable” in Kampala. “In addition to passing the torch to French, I’m showing my support for the work he is doing in Uganda,” said Diddy.

Diddy’s donation is also in response to French Montana and The Weeknd’s donations that each totaled $100,000. The three artists’ combined donations of $400,000 will help build Uganda’s maternal healthcare facilities that include a birth house, prenatal care clinic, new ambulance and more. “It’s important to give back, it’s important to be an agent of change,” said Diddy in the PSA video announcing his donation.

Financial stability is crucial to improving Uganda’s health services. The Merck Foundation’s long-term partnership with the country will continue to help Uganda’s patients and medical facilities. Assistance and aid from other entities will also play a key role in improving healthcare in Uganda.

– Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

Myanmar's healthcare system

In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the healthcare systems of 190 countries throughout the world. In this ranking, Myanmar’s healthcare system was listed as the worst overall. Myanmar is still a grade three level of concern to the WHO, meaning multiple major events have affected public health in Myanmar.

 

Health of Mothers and Children

 

Shortly after becoming independent from Great Britain in 1948, Myanmar — formerly Burma — became the subject of a dictatorship, which lasted until November 2015. Under this dictatorship, nearly a third of the country’s budget was allocated for the military, while just over one percent of funding was set aside for Myanmar’s healthcare system. As a result, infant and maternal mortality rates and infectious illness rates were astronomical; the maternal mortality rate was listed at 380 per 100,000 live births, nearly 60 times the rate of Japan. As of 2013, the government increased healthcare spending to almost four percent, but the people of Myanmar are still struggling with overall wellness.

The Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA), founded to improve the health of mothers and children in Myanmar, has collaborated with various organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF to redesign Myanmar’s healthcare system. By providing education on disease and STI prevention, advocacy programs and family planning services, the MMCWA aims to lower maternal and infant mortality rates and help level out birth rates in Myanmar.

 

Overall Healthcare in Myanmar

 

Another organization, Medical Action Myanmar (MAM), is working from the bottom up to improve overall healthcare in Myanmar. MAM’s focus is on communities with little to no access to healthcare. The organization is working to create a network of health services and provide medical treatment and preventative education. To decrease the incidences of HIV in the country, MAM is providing safe needle exchange, condom distribution and STD treatment. The services are free for those who cannot afford them. 

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also provides public health interventions and health assistance to communities in Myanmar. USAID’s focus often lies in extending assistance to high-risk communities that wouldn’t usually have access to healthcare. By performing the country’s first-ever demographic survey, USAID was able to identify what health concerns were most prevalent and, over time, has provided treatment to those suffering from tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal disease and other emergent health concerns.

Growth efforts in Myanmar are off to a slow start after being under a dictatorship for so long, but the government is determined to make a change. The Ministry of Health’s “Vision 2030” goal of improving nine major sectors of Myanmar’s healthcare system, although lofty, is an incredible beginning to the transformation of the country with the world’s worst healthcare.

– Anna Sheps

Photo: Pixabay

In Kenya, around 1.6 million citizens are currently living with HIV, with around 910,000 of these being women aged 15 and over. Soteni International, a nonprofit organization based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, works within rural Kenya to fight HIV/AIDS. Executive Director Randie Marsh describes the goals of the organization as “to reduce the incidences of HIV/AIDS in rural Kenya and improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS.”

Soteni International was founded in 2002 by a group of both American and African volunteers led by Dr. Victoria Wells Wulsin, a physician and epidemiologist. Marsh describes the early mission of the organization as being to “empower orphans of AIDS to lead the fight against AIDS and to prevent another generation from succumbing.”

Villages of Hope

The organization has now developed and works through the “model of Villages of Hope.” This includes doing everything in its power to build up specific communities so that they are sustainable for future HIV/AIDS-free generations. These villages are focused in three main regions in rural Kenya: Mbakalo, Ugunja and Mitunto.

Marsh told The Borgen Project that the organization chose to stay in rural areas because it “felt like there are many organizations working in Nairobi that address the HIV crisis there. These [three regions] are also areas where the communities have given us land to use to further our mission and/or support us in other ways.” Soteni has supported a number of projects in these communities that all work toward the overall betterment of the region.

Community Improvements

In 2009, Soteni worked with other organizations, including the Lake Victoria North Water Services Board, the Gender Sensitive Initiatives organization and the Kenyan Water Services Fund Trust, to bring safe drinking water to Mbakalo. The project included bringing the region 20 hand-pump wells and 20 springwater pipes. The local schools also received 15 three-door latrines and 12 rainwater harvesting tanks. In 2015, the organization also enacted the Improving Access to Family Planning Project in Ujunga to spread sexual health and family planning awareness and provide access to sexual reproductive health services.

Soteni opened a health center in Mbakalo in 2005 and has continued to improve it over the years. The center provides essential medical services through a seven-person staff. 200 to 300 citizens receive treatment here every month that includes antimalarials, antihistamines, antibiotics and some immunizations. The center has no electricity, but in 2008 Soteni installed a solar refrigerator for vaccines and medicines. Plans are currently underway to expand and upgrade the center.

International Cooperation

Soteni International requires leadership and cooperation in both the United States and Kenya to do its work. The organization has members and locations in both Cincinnati and Nairobi and members make trips back and forth annually. Supporters in the U.S. can donate time through volunteer work or make monetary and material donations.

According to Executive Director Marsh, “the heart of our organization are the people on the ground who work to support the mission.”  The organization and its community work are entirely grassroots, built from the ground up by people who saw a problem and wanted to be a part of the solution. Not only does its work better the lives of Kenyan citizens, but it also inspires citizens from the U.S. and around the globe.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Flickr

Syrian Refugee Health CrisisBeginning in 2011, the Syrian Civil War has resulted in an influx of refugees, many of which fled to neighboring countries. Five million Syrians fled to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and European countries. Approximately six and a half million remain internally displaced within Syria. As a result of war and civilian displacement, medical attention and healthcare have started to decline.

Prior to the civil war, Syria had a stable middle class and a relatively high socioeconomic status. Usually, countries of middle-class status tend to face a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Unfortunately, due to the war, relocation, crowding and poor sanitation, many of these illnesses remain untreated in Syria.

Syrian Refugee Health Crisis: Left Untreated

Ninety percent of Syrians are affected by non-communicable diseases. Many diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer are left unaddressed. This is the core of the Syrian refugee health crisis.

In order to access healthcare in host countries, refugees are required to obtain an identification card. Problems arise due to the inability of refugees to acquire the proper documentation. This is mainly due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. Nonetheless, over 500,000 refugees have found asylum in Jordan and a majority has gained the proper documentation for accessing medical treatment. Currently, 145,000 refugees remain without documents in Jordan.

Organizations Working to Address Healthcare Access

Primary care varies greatly based on the administering country and whether or not the patient lives in a camp or settlement. However, organizations are working to supply sufficient medical care for chronic and communicable diseases.

Syrians have received immunizations from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) upon arrival at settlements and camps. Part of the Vaccination Program for the U.S.-bound Refugees is administering select vaccines.

The World Health Organization is also working through partnerships to address nutritional health and raise funds for projects and initiatives. It is also strengthening the disease surveillance system outside refugee camps.

The John Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response

The students and faculty of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed a symposium in 2015. Their work focuses on new research initiatives that propose solutions to the Syrian refugee health crisis.

The school’s Center for Refugee and Disaster Response is assessing Syrians’ basic needs regarding food, medicine and daily living items to provide data for assistance programs. This program also looks into the effectiveness of cash-based food programs for families suffering from non-communicable diseases.

By assessing the needs of Syrian refugees, government entities and other foundations can better manage the healthcare of people in need. Policies and donations can help address the needs of people seeking asylum to better solve the Syrian refugee health crisis.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr