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Iraq has been plagued by war and civil conflict for the past two decades, causing millions to be displaced from their homes and communities. As the number of refugees continues to grow, so does the urgent need for humanitarian aid and assistance. The violence in Iraq has forced more than four million residents from their homes, with over 2.2 million seeking refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan.
The struggle to find adequate shelter is just one of the many problems Iraqi refugees face, and when living conditions become overcrowded, access to clean water and sanitation, as well as health care, is extremely scarce. According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, there are nearly 750,000 Iraqis living in Jordan, where there are an estimated 203 physicians to every 100,000 people. Together, AmeriCares and the Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS), a local health care organization, have addressed the need for adequate health care for the increasing refugee population. An AmeriCares grant of $50,000 was recently used to purchase essential medical equipment in order to open two new health clinics in the regions most affected, including Amman and Irbid. Today, more than 2,000 Iraqis are receiving medical attention they might otherwise have gone without. The equipment has enabled medical teams to practice general medicine, gynecology and obstetrics, pediatrics and dental care. “By giving our partner the means to operate two additional health care clinics, we are helping to decrease the risk of further disease and outbreak in the overpopulated regions,” says AmeriCares Emergency Response Manager Jonathan Hodgdon.
In addition to the medical supplies, AmeriCares grant also funded the printing and distribution of 2,000 health aid cards and instruction booklets. Each health aid card can be used for 10 patient visits including all required testing and pharmaceuticals as ordered by the physician. The AmeriCares-funded cards were distributed free of charge to Iraqi families, saving them the normal purchase price of $14.