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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 13;11(4):e0150088. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150088. eCollection 2016.

Health Service Utilization among Syrian Refugees with Chronic Health Conditions in Jordan.

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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, United States of America.
Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan.
World Health Organization, Amman, Jordan.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Amman, Jordan.



The influx of Syrian refugees into Jordan presents an immense burden to the Jordanian health system, particularly in treating chronic health conditions. This study was undertaken to assess utilization of health services for chronic health conditions among Syrian refugees in non-camp settings.


A survey of Syrian refugees in Jordan was undertaken in June 2014 to characterize health seeking behaviors and issues related to accessing care for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and arthritis. A cluster design with probability proportional to size sampling was used to attain a nationally representative sample of 1550 non-camp Syrian refugee households.


Of 1363 cases with a chronic health condition diagnosis, 84.7% had received care in Jordan. Public facilities faced a heavy burden serving over half (53.9%) of care-seekers; the remainder received care in the private (29.6%) and NGO/charity (16.6%) sectors. Individuals with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the central region of Jordan and with arthritis had the lowest rates of care-seeking when compared to other regions and conditions. Overall, 31.6% of care-seekers had an out-of-pocket payment for the most recent care-seeking event which averaged 18.8 USD (median = 0 USD), excluding cost of medications.


Forced displacement presents major challenges to those with NCDs, which have the potential to seriously impact both the quality of life and life expectancy amongst refugees. NCD patterns among Syrian refugees indicate the importance of continuing support to public sector services in Jordan to adequately meet expanding needs and ensure appropriate prevention and control of priority NCDs.

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