International Medical Corps’ community health team conducts monthly shelter-to-shelter visits throughout the villages of Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, providing health education and linking residents with our services, as well as with services provided by other organizations in the camp. Much of this work is done by community health volunteers (CHVs), who also are residents of the camp and thus share the same background and speak the same language as the people they are trying to reach.
Jasem is the head of a family of 11 people who arrived in Azraq camp in 2016 after fleeing conflict in Syria, seeking a safe place to live. When the community health team visited Jasem’s family to discuss various health-related topics, they learned that four of the children living in the home had not received their routine vaccinations. When the CHVs asked the parents why the children hadn’t been immunized, the parents explained, “Vaccination is not safe for our children. One of our sons became sick when he was vaccinated in Syria.” Because the parents believed that vaccines had caused their son’s illness, they decided not to vaccinate the other children.
The CHVs made multiple visits to the family to educate them about the importance of vaccinating their children to protect them against disease. At first, the family was completely against the idea of vaccination, but as the CHVs continued to visit and assure them of vaccine safety, Jasem decided to send the children to the Ministry of Health vaccination facility in the primary healthcare clinic—as long as the CHVs accompanied them.
Today, all four children have their vaccination cards, and their parents are satisfied and thankful to the community health team for their regular visits and for taking care of their children’s health. The CHVs were very happy when they saw the result of their hard work, which has given them the motivation to continue spreading health messages and services among the community.