Press Release

Eight refugee doctors honoured for contributions to Jordan’s public hospitals amid pandemic

08 December 2021

UNHCR celebrated eight doctor’s contribution to the COVID-19 response in Jordan by presenting them the volunteer service award.

UNHCR rewarded eight refugee doctors, including five Syrians, two Iraqis and one Yemeni, for their voluntary work in public Jordanian hospitals during the pandemic, in collaboration with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme and the Ministry of Health.

UNHCR Representative in Jordan Dominick Bartsch expressed his pride and happiness with the doctors’ achievement, saying: “We are very happy to have UNV refugee doctors who are currently working as health professionals to provide essential medical services under the ministry of health for the COVID response in the Kingdom.”

“These professionals put their expertise to the disposal of society, especially as refugees who are giving back to Jordanian society and the government,” Bartsch said during the ceremony.

Bartsch thanked the doctors and congratulated them for winning the UNV award.

UNHCR Spokesperson Lilly Carlisle said that this has been a venture UNHCR has undergone alongside the UNV, with the help of the Ministry of Health’s exemption to allow the refugees to work as doctors in Jordan.

“When the pandemic hit, we contacted the Ministry of Health to get refugee doctors to help fill in some gaps the health system Jordan was facing and they gave these eight doctors the permits. They have been working since June and had of their contracts extended until December 2022 in recognition of their great work,” Carlisle told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

Carlisle noted that refugees in Jordan have a wide range of expertise and UNHCR works to make them self-reliant so they can contribute to society while they are in the Kingdom. 

“Refugee doctors contributing to the COVID-19 response in Jordan is a great step towards achieving that, especially now with the current third wave,” she continued.

She added that many of the doctors work in emergency units in hospitals at the front line of COVID-19 response every day.

 “Today was a really important recognition of what they have done so far and what they will achieve next year,” Carlisle said.

She noted that highly skilled refugees “deserve to use their skills after spending years studying and training to provide for their families and themselves. Their skills should not go to waste”.

Carlisle indicated that UNHCR received over 300 applicants who wanted to work in the medical sector. 

“We are still trying to get more permits for more people to work as doctors, nurses or pharmacists, as there are still gaps for refugees to contribute to,” she said, noting that the doctors received a stipend for their work.

Abdulrazak Darkashly, a Syrian refugee doctor who volunteers in Al Bashir Hospital, expressed his gratitude and happiness for getting the permit to work and practise his profession. 

“It is a humanitarian profession and it was necessary for all doctors to contribute to the COVID-19 response and I wanted to offer my services,” Darkashly told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

Darkashly noted that it has not been easy during the pandemic, as there is a lot of pressure on the medical staff, “but it becomes easier when more experts and health professionals are involved”.

Basma Tamimi, a Yemeni doctor at one of the Kingdom’s hospitals, expressed her happiness to be part of the UNV programme.

“I am very proud of this achievement and very glad to be able to help the people especially during the pandemic we are going through,” she told The Jordan Times.

Tamimi also expressed her excitement to give more during the next year while working as well.

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