Sick children from the “Gaza Strip” in Jordan complain that they are denied…

Oday, nine years old, suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of the inability to supply the brain with oxygen during childbirth. The child lives in a Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza (50 km north of the capital Amman), where the majority of its inhabitants do not have a Jordanian national number (nationality).

The child’s family, like thousands of children from Gaza, does not find specialized medical care; Since she does not have Jordanian citizenship, this prevents children with disabilities from completing a course of treatment, as their Jordanian counterparts do.

There are no precise statistics on the number of “Sons of Gaza” in Jordan, but official estimates put their number at about 150,000, most of whom do not originate from the Gaza Strip, as is well known.

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In 1948, most of them were displaced from different places in the villages and towns of Palestine, where they first fled to the Gaza Strip, which was under Egyptian rule, and then in 1967 they took refuge in Jordan, which earned them the name People of the Strip Gaza, and from that date they live in Jordan. Always.

Cry for help

In an attempt to obtain the rights of children with disabilities, the mothers of the case owners organized a community campaign, which they called “Bahmouna”, to appeal to the Jordanian authorities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, asking for health insurance coverage for children from birth to 18 years.

Campaign coordinator Fawzia al-Maghrabi told Arabi21: “The lack of health insurance for nearly 6,000 children with disabilities puts their lives at risk due to the weak abilities of children in the Gaza Strip, most of whom are self-employed. We are a campaign that started with eight mothers, and later expanded to more than 320.” .. But after receiving training on community organization with the “Ahl” Foundation, we collected signatures to demand the rights of children with developmental disabilities.

According to al-Maghrabi, “Health insurance is a right for all children with disabilities, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on Persons with Disabilities. We demand what is right for us and our children, to ensure a decent life for them.”

binding agreements

Jordan ratifies the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which ensure the right to health care for all children and persons with disabilities in the territory of the ratifying state.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that “discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the individual, and children with disabilities should fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children, recalling the obligations which were taken over for this purpose by the states parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

the government’s response

The Jordanian government, according to the director of Palestinian affairs, Rafik Khorfan, confirmed that “UNRWA provides primary health care services through clinics to all refugees, including Gaza residents, in addition to the agreement between the Jordanian government and UNRWA that the people of Gaza should be treated in state health insurance in the same way as Jordanians of working age, through treatment in state hospitals for a small fee.

He continued in an interview with “Arabi 21”: “Regarding the requirement to provide health insurance for disabled Gazans, the community rehabilitation centers spread throughout the camps provide services to the disabled, and the royal initiatives have provided great support for these centers and centers for women through new buildings and support for the centers.” financially active.

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Kharfan said: “We are trying to direct organizations and UNRWA to help people in the Gaza Strip by modernizing and restoring houses. We have rebuilt many houses that were made of sheet metal, and today we are rebuilding houses that are about to collapse.”

Although people from the Gaza Strip are allowed treatment in public hospitals in Jordan, the fees paid for diagnosis and treatment are high compared to what a Jordanian citizen pays for treatment, and camp residents cannot afford these fees due to the income they earn.

Residents of the Gaza Strip who are registered with the International Commissioner for Refugees (UNRWA) receive primary treatment at UNRWA health centers, which do not meet the health requirements, as they provide only primary health care, and this does not include specialized health care for persons with disabilities.

UNRWA services

In turn, the Palestinian Refugee Relief and Works Agency said in its response to Arabi 21: “The agency does not provide health insurance to refugees, but provides primary health care to registered and eligible Palestinian refugees, including those from the Gaza Strip.”

She added: “The agency works to refer refugees to the competent authorities in the Kingdom in case the requested service or necessary specialization is not available, and provides available financial support, if available, which represents a percentage of the necessary treatment costs. In addition, the agency provides advocacy services for support for Palestinian refugees in Jordan and other regions.” in which the agency operates.

The “People of the Gaza Strip” in Jordan live in difficult economic conditions, and most of them work in freelance professions, such as construction workers and others, after the Jordanian authorities prevented them from working in the public sector, forced them to obtain work permits similar to workers abroad, and closed 19 jobs for them that are limited by the Labor Law. Only for Jordanians.

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