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Health access and utilization survey: Access to Healthcare Services Among Syrian Refugees in Jordan - December 2018

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Background and Objective The increase in the number of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) across the region in 2018 continued and the need remains for a large-scale response to address the needs of refugees already present in the host community. At the end of 2018, 671,350 Syrian refugees were registered with UNHCR, including refugees hosted in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, in addition to camps population.

Overview of Health Services Available to UNHCR PoCs in Jordan

In 2018, UNHCR continue supporting the provision of healthcare service to all camp resident and vulnerable Syrian in urban as well as rural setting through implementing partners and affiliated hospitals. While UNHCR maintains essential healthcare services for vulnerable Syrian refugees, it works to improve Syrian refugees' utilization of the governmental healthcare services at the Primary and Secondary Health Care levels.

Research context

The Government of Jordan had allowed Syrians registered with UNHCR to access healthcare services free of charge in Ministry of Health (MOH) primary healthcare centers (PHCs) and hospitals, as of March 5, 2012. However, in November 2014 this policy was withdrawn and Syrian refugees were required to pay the non-insured Jordanian rate when they use all types of health services provided by the Ministry of Health. Early 2018 GoJ has reduced the level of access to all refugees where 80% of foreigner rate adopted; prior to this decision, the majority of registered Syrians were able to receive healthcare services at subsidized rate at all level of care. However, the non-insured Jordanian rate was normally affordable for non-vulnerable individuals especially at secondary and tertiary level of care. The new policy and huge inflation in cost of health services is expected to cause considerable hardship for all refugees and may affect the access to healthcare facilities and utilization behaviors among urban refugees.

There were important exceptions made to this as all expanded program on immunization (EPI) vaccinations are provided free of charge to children and pregnant women. Furthermore, treatment for communicable diseases such as Leishmaniosis, TB and other communicable disease of public health concern are also provided free of charge to Syrians.

In December 2012, the government of Jordan introduced a "service card" or so-called "security card"; that is issued to all Syrians residing in Jordan and upon the registration with the Ministry of Interior (Mol). This administrative procedure has been implemented effectively but imposes some challenges on healthcare services accessibility for refugees. Refugees can only access the public healthcare center that falls under the area of registration of the security card in the first visit, and if the refugee relocates, he finds difficulties accessing healthcare services.