International Medical Corps commits to changing how the humanitarian structure delivers services to refugees to better fit the realities of the current crisis. Working with partners, including Jordan Health Aid Society, Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants and Support to Life in Turkey, and Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Lebanon, the organization will expand public health services and build capacity to meet the needs of refugee and host communities in the largest refugee-recipient nations: Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, benefitting 100,000 people over the next two years.
International Medical Corps teams will provide direct services to meet the most immediate needs, especially in camps, in primary healthcare; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; and mental health. Recognizing that women and girls bear the brunt of the crisis and are at greater risk, services will include maternal, sexual and reproductive health, as well as programs aimed at reducing gender-based violence and providing safe spaces for women and girls.
Teams will also strengthen the capacity of partner staff so they can respond flexibly and rapidly to changes triggered by the crisis; this includes training frontline healthcare workers in emergency and public healthcare, and helping partners access the human, material and financial resources they need to respond quickly.
To build social cohesion and reduce tensions among communities that currently jostle for scarce resources, International Medical Corps will also target community support networks and organizations; for example, expanding youth empowerment programs that engage young men and women and require them to work together to address local challenges. Finally, International Medical Corps will foster national resilience by expanding our current relationships with Ministries in country to build the capacity of health systems, including investing in infrastructure, emergency healthcare, training and systems development to meet the increasing and changing healthcare needs in each country.
5/1/2014 and ongoing: Identify key private partners to invest in International Medical Corps' community-based approach to build the capacity of host communities. Work with partners to develop health-related investments that meet the needs of host communities, and thereby support refugees, in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. Work will take place in refugee camps, but also in communities hosting large numbers of refugees, including: Amman, Ramtha, Irbid in Jordan; Kilis, Nizip and Sakarya in Turkey; and Beirut, Akkar and Tripoli in Lebanon, among others.
9/1/2014 and ongoing: With available funding, launch programs that provide health-related services, especially primary health care; water, sanitation, and hygiene programming; nutrition; sexual, maternal and reproductive health care; and mental health across the region. Throughout all programs, International Medical Corps will invest in training frontline and local health care workers to build the capacity of the system to better serve the need of all residents.
1/1/2015 and ongoing: Review monitoring and evaluation plans to continue to support ongoing efforts to meet the needs of host communities.
Increasingly complex and difficult to predict, the crisis in Syria, now in its fourth year, has become a regional emergency. The UN reports that 10.8 million people are in immediate need of assistance and 3 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, straining resources and the capacity of existing systems to support humanitarian needs. The World Bank calls the present situation 'unsustainable.'
The UN predicts that by the end of 2014, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey will host over 4 million refugees, many of them living outside of traditional camp settings. Jordan already hosts more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, 10% of the population, with the UN predicting more than 1 million by the end of 2014; only 20% reside in camps. In Lebanon, UNHCR reports more than 1 million refugees, nearly 25% of the population; refugees live primarily in informal settlements and low-income communities. According to government figures, nearly 1.4 million Syrians have entered Turkey and the UN reports nearly 219,000 refugees in Iraq.
This crisis has strained existing health and social service systems, in many cases beyond their capacity to provide routine, yet critical services. For example, in Lebanon, public hospitals and clinics report an increase in communicable diseases and the appearance of previously absent diseases, such as leishmaniasis. International Medical Corps' Lebanon Country Director reported that refugee consultations in public health care facilities increased from 140 per year in 2011to more than 2,600 per month at the start of 2013. The World Bank noted that 'the increase in demand for health services caused by the Syrian conflict is straining Lebanon's health system.'
Across the region, health care, water, sanitation, and other health systems are experiencing similar strains. For residents of once-welcoming host communities and refugees alike, access to quality public services has declined significantly.
International Medical Corps is seeking additional financial resources to continue building resiliency in local communities in the Syrian refugee crisis. Additional resources needed are implementing partners on the ground in Syria refugee response countries, media support to raise our advocacy and awareness efforts, and best practices.
International Medical Corps is offering best practices from the Syrian refugee crisis around health interventions, psycho-social mental health consultations, and service provision in Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan.