Several hundred thousand Iraqi refugees remain inside Syria, having fled their own country during the past decade of conflict there. Only a small percentage has officially registered with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, making them particularly difficult to access for the provision of health services.
International Medical Corps is one of 15 international non-government organisations currently helping the large urban refugee population that has resettled within the city limits of Damascus. Working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, we deliver primary health care and mental health/ psychosocial services through both static and mobile clinics and community centres in the Damascus area.
As the ongoing violence in Syria forces increasing numbers of families to be displaced International Medical Corps is providing critical health services in partnership with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent within Syria. In response to the more than 112,000 people estimated by UNHCR to have fled into neighbouring countries, International Medical Corps is also scaling up its operations in Lebanon and Jordan to reach Syrians seeking services.
Primary Health Care
International Medical Corps delivers comprehensive primary health care services to Iraqi refugees and vulnerable Syrians through its support of static clinics in the run-down suburban neighbourhoods of Jaramana, Masaken Barzeh and El Sayeda Zaineb where refugee populations have tended to congregate. We also operate three mobile clinics that serve outlying semi-rural areas on the fringes of the city.
The clinics offer a variety of services, including preventative and curative consultations, antenatal care for pregnant women, nutrition and growth monitoring for children under 5 and routine primary health care needs. We also provide health education classes and distribute hygiene kits. Delivery kits are also provided to pregnant women, along with the appropriate training on how to use them. Through our static clinics, we conduct early childhood development trainings for parents and caregivers improving parent- child interactions and increasing parents’ knowledge about the child’s developmental milestones as well as emotional and cognitive needs.
Mental Health & Psychosocial Support
Under a regional Middle East initiative to support Iraqi refugees, International Medical Corps has trained a group of 24 primary care physicians in both theoretical and clinical aspects of psychosocial care and recognition of mental illness. We support community centres in Damascus where we oversee psychosocial activities for young children, adolescents and young adults. The roughly 2,800 young people participants in these programmes are evenly divided between local residents and Iraqi refugees. We have also opened a new child and family care centre in Judaidt Artoz for children with special needs. Over 750 children have already participated in various vocational, recreational and monthly outdoor activities conducted by this centre.