Community Jameel and the International Rescue Committee join forces to combat the effects of COVID-19 on refugees in Jordan

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June 16, 2020
  • This collaboration will help tackle the Syrian refugee crisis ensuring those in Jordan have access to vital infection prevention and control information as well as lifesaving services.
  • Healthcare workers will be trained and safely equipped to meet the healthcare needs in the country.

Community Jameel and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have announced a new collaboration to tackle the ongoing refugee crisis in Jordan which has been exacerbated by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

With worldwide cases of coronavirus totalling more than 7 million and climbing, the exponential and rapid growth of COVID-19 cases poses a huge risk to vulnerable populations such as refugees and displaced peoples.

As announced at a virtual roundtable organised to discuss the issue hosted by Hassan Jameel, President, Saudi Arabia - Community Jameel, and David Miliband, President & CEO - IRC, the two organisations will work together to slow the spread of the virus, minimise transmission, and reduce the secondary impacts of the outbreak across the MENA region.

The IRC has designed a robust approach to detect, prevent and help contain the outbreak of coronavirus leveraging its experience responding to infectious disease outbreaks of global concern, including Ebola, and more than 85 years of expertise supporting people affected by conflicts and disasters.

Community Jameel is a global philanthropy dedicated to innovating for a better future and already has a track record of supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan, launching the Transforming Refugee Education towards Excellence (TREE) programme in 2019, in collaboration with the Jameel World Education Lab at MIT, Save the Children, the Jordanian Ministry of Education, Dubai Cares and Hikma.

The IRC’s ongoing health programme is already one of the largest NGO programmes of its kind in Jordan, and with Community Jameel coming on board both organisations will be able to scale its existing support in Jordan and across the MENA region.

In particular, the partnership will work to increase distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential infection prevention and control supplies; cover costs of emergency medicines due to increased demands on clinics, including to high-risk patients; provide assistance to the most vulnerable families to address health needs and support safe deliveries/complicated obstetric care; and support information outreach with partner organisations in Jordan through Turn (an informational app) and the Jordanian Ministry of Health’s coronavirus information hub.

Speaking during the session, Hassan Jameel emphasised the importance of collaboration and combining resources for the benefit of the region during such a challenging time: “COVID-19 is an exceptional crisis, and it is refugees and displaced persons who are being hit the hardest. We’re proud to build on our existing efforts supporting refugees in Jordan through this partnership which will strengthen the frontline medical response to the virus in Jordan.”

David Miliband added: “COVID-19 adds a new dimension to the refugee crisis by creating a double emergency: an emergency of health care because many of the refugees have underlying vulnerabilities, as well as a social and an economic emergency caused by the collateral damage of the virus and its lockdowns. We would like to thank Community Jameel for helping the IRC boost our healthcare response in Jordan to help reach those most vulnerable.”

The partnership with IRC is the latest component of Community Jameel’s extensive COVID-19 response which includes the work of the Jameel Institute at Imperial College London to model the spread of the virus, and the AI Cures initiative at the Jameel Clinic at MIT, which is applying machine learning to discover promising antiretrovirals to treat the disease.

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