Omar at the HI Centre in Jordan | © Saleh Aliwa - HI
Having had his leg amputated by shrapnel, Omar fled Syria with his family and is now living in Jordan where he has received physical rehabilitation treatment and a new prosthesis.
Omar, 35 years old, is from Daraa, Syria. A husband and father to a son and now two daughters. Omar and part of his family fled the war-torn country in 2013 to find refuge in Irbid, a city in the north of Jordan.
In 2012, when Omar was 24 years old, he was spending time in his garden when he was injured by a shell, a large-calibre projectile fired from a tank. Home alone at the time he was fortunate that his neighbours were able to help him.
Omar explains: “I can’t remember anything about it, only that I woke up in the hospital”.
When he woke up, he was told what had happened. His neighbours had managed to get hold of a doctor who came to his home. The doctor took Omar to a field hospital set-up in an underground tunnel where the medical team immediately amputated his right leg below the knee.
After only 2 days, he was discharged and sent home – or to what was left of his home – to recover. He was provided with crutches and a doctor made home visits. Once his limb was healed, he received his first below-knee prosthesis.
In 2013, Omar fled Syria for Jordan with his wife and daughter, while the rest of his family - including his son – stayed behind in Syria. By the time he reached Jordan, his prosthesis was in very poor condition. UNHCR referred him to HI for rehabilitation services and a new prosthesis.
There are an estimated one million registered and unregistered Syrians now living in Jordan. They account for around 10% of the population. This increase in the size of the country’s population has put pressure on local infrastructure, resources and services.
HI launched a response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan during the summer of 2012. Until 2014, the focus was on providing direct rehabilitation services to vulnerable populations, especially Syrian refugees. In 2014, HI changed its approach to capacity-building for local actors and health system strengthening.
Hamzeh Aqel, HI’s Rehabilitation Project Manager in Jordan, explains that HI has a partnership with the Community Development Centre (CDC) in Irbid, a city located north of Amman, the capital.
This centre provides community-based rehabilitation services to Syrian refugees, Palestinian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians. The centre works with community-based volunteers to increase access to services for vulnerable people. These volunteers identify beneficiaries in their community based on needs. Most of the people assisted are adults and children over 7 years old. Approximately 70% of them are Syrian refugees.
The centre helps beneficiaries with functional limitations to access quality and comprehensive rehabilitation services. After an assessment, a treatment plan is put in place for each patient. Depending on their needs, they receive different types of therapy, which can include rehabilitation services, mobility aid, psychosocial support, etc.
HI provides the centre with all its mobility aids (wheelchairs, crutches, walking aids, etc), training for staff and volunteers, quality control, capacity building, etc.
Omar comes to this centre for regular check-ups and new prostheses.
Since fleeing Syria, he has settled in Irbid. He has found a job in a supermarket and is trying to ease back into a normal life while learning to accept his disability. His biggest hope is that one day he will be reunited with other members of his family living across Europe and the United States.