According to the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than five million people, among whom many women and children, have fled Syria since March 2011, when the conflict began. Close to 1,670,000 of them are in Jordan or Lebanon, where they live in precarious conditions, very often with no access to the healthcare they need.
As early as November 2012, La Chaîne de L’Espoir has been mobilising to aid refugee children suffering from war injuries. Together with a network of Syrian doctors living as refugees in Jordan, La Chaîne de l’Espoir has met with the various Syrian and Jordanian health players, assessed the medical and surgical needs of the most vulnerable local and refugee children, and visited hospitals and examined the various options for action.
Since November 2012, dozens of missions have been carried out for the benefit of thousands of children in need (consultations, operations, transfers in France). Over 320 children have been operated on in Jordan and close to 200 in Lebanon.
Paediatric surgery programme
Since 2012 in Lebanon and 2013 in Jordan, La Chaîne de L’Espoir treats vulnerable refugee children with heart defects, who have no access to healthcare because of a lack of financial resources.
A medical care programme has been implemented including:
- Surgical missions involving volunteer teams in a quality hospital in Amman (Jordan). As of today, more than 75 children and young adults have been operated on.
- The financing of surgeries at the Hôtel-Dieu de France, in Beirut (Lebanon). As of today, 64 children have received surgery as part of this programme.
This programme has two objectives:
- Provide medical and surgical assistance to the most disadvantaged children suffering from heart problems.
- Strengthen the skills of the local teams in paediatric surgery.
Orthopaedic surgery programme
La Chaîne de l’Espoir has set up a programme of orthopaedic surgery for vulnerable or refugee children presenting sequelae from firearm injuries, post-amputation lesions, chest and brain traumas or congenital malformations of the lower and upper limbs. Since 2012, more than 275 children have been operated on.
The current context is not favourable to foresee any improvement in the quality of life of the Syrian refugees or their return home. Because of important paediatric surgical needs, La Chaîne de l’Espoir has reinforced its programme:
- With the organisation of regular missions (between 5 and 6 a year) in a charity hospital in Amman, Jordan. During each mission, at least 20 children are operated on.
- With the establishment, as from December 2016, of a new partnership with the Lebanese Union of Relief and Development Associations (URDA) and two Lebanese hospitals in Beirut and Shtoura (Lebanon). Since mid-April 2017, no fewer than ten children are operated on every week.
Funding: ECHO and Crisis and Support Centre
The Jordan programme (cardiac and orthopaedic surgery) is financed by the European Union - Humanitarian Assistance and Protection of Civilians (ECHO).
The Lebanon programme (orthopaedic surgery) is financed by the Crisis and Support Centre.