Time to heal

The challenge of keeping 76,000 people healthy in Za’atari Camp

S1E5: Time to heal

in Episode 5 of Between Lives, see how UNHCR provides health and medical support to people like Abdul, Fatima and their family in Za’atari Camp, Jordan.

Assistant Public Health Officer Dina Jardenah explains how your support helps UNHCR to meet some of the huge challenges involved in keeping the camp healthy.

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Did you know?

Did you know that our teams need to provide whole variety of medical care, tending to pregnant women and infants, people with chronic illnesses, disabilities and mobility problems, as well as stopping viruses that spread rapidly in the young and very old?

With 76,000 people to look after, and the potential of 76,000 different health needs, your support is providing vital medical care in Za’atari Camp in Jordan.

You are also helping us to stop and contain deadly outbreaks of disease. If a virus like cholera or typhoid develops in the camp, there is the potential for it to quickly spiral out of control and claim many lives. In Za’atari, preventing disease is every bit as important as treating people who might already be ill.











“Refugees are like everybody else: we all need medical care.”

Health workers in the clinic where Dina works. Credit ©UNHCR/D.Azia Credit ©UNHCR/J.Kohler

“Refugees are like everybody else: we all need medical care.” Dina Jardaneh, Assistant Public Health Officer, tells us about her work at a health clinic in Za’atari.


If you look at a cross-section of the population anywhere in the world, you’d find a huge range of medical needs and conditions. So one of the biggest challenges here in Za’atari is making sure everybody has access to the specific care or treatment they need.

It’s sometimes forgotten that, just like people in any population, there will be a number of refugees with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart conditions or cancer. It’s my job to make sure they’re provided with the care they need. We have a 30-bed hospital here in camp, but not the facilities to do everything, so this means sometimes referring people with life-threatening conditions to hospitals in Jordan.

And of course there are people with disabilities who might need mobility aids or physiotherapy. There are people with mental health conditions who might need medication or counselling. The Syrian health care system has been destroyed so we need to make sure all the children get their vaccinations. And we have to put systems in place to make sure we’re on top of infectious diseases like measles, so there are no serious outbreaks.

We also, of course, have people with war wounds. Some need their dressings changed everyday and may not be able to come to the clinic – so we have to make sure they’re getting help too.

There’s a huge range of challenges but I am particularly passionate about ante and post-natal care. Whether or not a woman is a refugee, they have the right to give birth in a safe environment, with skilled health workers on hand.


It’s hard work. We work long hours, we’re in the desert and it’s hard to maintain energy levels. But there’s nothing more rewarding than helping vulnerable people who are in so much need.

Facts and Figures

14,000 – average no. of health consultations per week

80 births per week, 1 delivery unit

1 hospital with 55 beds and 10 health care centres

150 community health volunteers

Statistics correct as of August 2017

See the whole story

Follow Abdul, Farida and their children as they navigate life in Za’atari Camp, Jordan. Watch the whole series now.

S1E1: For the record

S1E5: Time to heal

S1E2: No place like home

S1E6: New Tastes

S1E3: Thirst for life

S1E7: The road ahead

S1E4: Life lessons

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