Strategic Health Support for Iraqi Refugees (SHS)
The displacement of Iraqis is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. Although other groups in Jordan provide some medical and educational services for Iraqi refugees, demand far outpaces supply, and the threat of deportation is a common fear that prevents many families from seeking medical care.
IRD’s successful 2007/2008 SHS program, funded by the Department of States Bureau of Population Refugees and Migration (BPRM) allowed IRD, through a large volunteer outreach force, to gain access to Iraqi homes, earn their trust, and become an integral part of health assistance to Jordan’s refugee population. Moreover, through the institution of its innovative outreach program, IRD has been able to provide income for over 120 Iraqi women (many of whom are healthcare professionals), while the outreach has served as a community network through which IRD has not only been able to provide basic health services and referrals but has also been able to gain significant insight into and feedback from the Iraqi community. Based on lessons learned during the first year of implementation, IRD continued to implement assistance that provided critical primary health support to SHS beneficiaries while addressing gaps in health programming specifically identified by refugees.
Through the implementation of the SHS-II program, IRD maintained the levels of access to primary health care services in Amman, and is now increasing primary health care access for Iraqi refugees in Irbid and Zarqa. In addition, the program is expanding services in all partner clinics to cover secondary health care and medicines. The program, supported by IRD’s existing volunteer outreach referral system, reached an unprecedented 76,000 Iraqis across Jordan.