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Can Cash Transfers Help Syrian Refugees Manage Diabetes?


Humanitarian Health describes which combination of interventions resulted in the most effective diabetes treatment for Syrian refugees based in Jordan.

23 March 2021 — By Shannon Doocy

Providing refugees with cash assistance is increasingly common in humanitarian contexts and multipurpose cash is becoming a modality of choice. Yet critical questions are still being explored such as who should receive cash and how can it be used by the sectors without compromising standards?

As the numbers of refugees and displaced persons continues to grow worldwide, so do demands placed on host country health systems. Displaced populations suffer from an increasingly larger burden of chronic conditions, and health systems in host countries need to be provided with the support to adapt to this new reality. In many settings, a basic package of services is available at low cost, but services outside this package may remain costly and so financially out of reach.

To better understand the impacts of cash transfers combined with various health interventions on refugee health, our consortium conducted a study to assess the impacts of cash assistance on Syrian refugees with diabetes who reside in the greater Amman area of Jordan.

Reducing the financial barriers to medication and health care treatments for refugees with diabetes is critically important because when household finances are stretched thin, families tend to prioritize food and shelter, and may forgo costly medical needs.