Primary Health Care
International Medical Corps partners with a local medical non-government organization, Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS), to provide comprehensive primary health care both to refugees and vulnerable local populations. Our work includes preventive care, including as routine checkups, health education and child growth monitoring; obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatric care, plus internal medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology and basic laboratory services.
International Medical Corps uses its primary health care infrastructure to operate a comprehensive case management system for those with mild to severe mental illness. Statistics have shown that the trauma of armed conflict and the loss of life-long social surroundings often leads to increases in mental illness among refugee populations and can exacerbate symptoms among those already suffering from mental diseases such as schizophrenia. Case managers, supervised by certified psychologists, assess mental health and psychosocial cases and develop a case management plan that draws on general practitioners and psychologists from our local partner NGO, the Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS), as well as government and other locally available NGO resources. In addition, we offer our own 13 –week training course for public and private-sector general practitioners to enhance their ability to identify, manage and refer mental health conditions for more specialized treatment.
In response to the dramatic influx of refugees into Jordan, our teams have been working to expand mental health and psychosocial support services on the border and throughout the country to respond to the growing humanitarian needs.
Continuing Medical Education
International Medical Corps offers high quality, accredited continuing medical education (CME) courses to strengthen the skills of both Jordanian and displaced Iraqi health professionals in the country. Courses are offered by volunteer specialists from the United Kingdom and the United States in partnership with the Jordanian and Iraqi ministries of health.
Childhood Development for Urban Refugees
International Medical Corps, in partnership with the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), a Jordan-based NGO, initiated its early childhood development (ECD) project in 2008 as a complement to its health provision and health education programs for Iraqi refugees. The ECD project sought to target vulnerable Iraqi and Jordanian parents, young adult women intending to become mothers, and older women recognized as matriarchs of their families. The overarching aim was to promote healthy child development from birth to eight years. Jordanian mothers felt comfortable attending courses at the Queen Rania Center, but their Iraqi counterparts were hesitant. They expressed feelings of insecurity and a general discomfort about traveling outside of their immediate home environment.
It quickly became clear that changes would be needed in order to reach a broader cross- section of the Iraqi female population in the continuation phase of the project. We re- evaluated—and then replaced—the original, centralized program design that required travel to the Jordan River Foundation Center and instead initiated a pilot home and community-based approach. While home and community-based intervention is not a new concept, it was not commonly used in Jordan. With just limited outreach efforts, demand for these home-based trainings quickly grew within the communities, and each trainer soon found herself hosting no less than 20 women—twice the expected number—in modestly-sized apartments. Attendance rates consistently topped 90%.
Program results showed it was highly effective in transferring knowledge on early childhood development theories and practices. But it was the program’s impact on refugee isolation and loneliness—essentially a side effect only partially measured by the VALS questionnaire—that was extraordinary. Qualitative assessments conducted through focus group discussions with participants and debriefs with trainers showed improvements in the mental health and psychosocial well-being of all women involved in the program.