The Overall Condition of the Jordanian Healthcare System and the Major Threats and Challenges to Their Healthcare System
The 21st century has witnessed a growing number of conflicts in different parts of the world. As a result, the number of refugees seeking sanctuary in other countries is constantly increasing. The influx of refugees affects the political, socioeconomic and health circumstances of both the refugees and the host countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other United Nations (UN) and international aid agencies allocate resources and develop programmes to protect and sustain the security and welfare of refugees.
As massive population growth stresses host-community capacities, Syrian refugees have cast a light on some of Jordan’s greatest contemporary challenges. A plethora of reports point to the Syrian refugee impact on Jordan’s depleted resources, increased job competition, overburdened infrastructure, and strained social services, like healthcare and education. Notably, the challenges highlighted by the refugees all have deep roots in Jordan’s social, economic, and political fabrics. Indeed, the Syrian refugee population has merely exacerbated preexisting endemic challenges that could be harbingers of future instability. The negative public sentiment toward Syrians constrains the Jordanian government in its ability to respond to the refugee crisis. As host-community tensions rise, Jordanian citizens have called upon the government to limit competition from Syrian refugees. Since 2014, the Jordanian government has responded to increasingly vocal public frustration and growing regional security risks by narrowing its hospitality toward Syrian refugees. The once-cooperative relationship between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Hashemite Kingdom has grown tense as Jordan has restricted the number of Syrians who can enter the country, closed accessible border crossings, and attempted to confine more refugees to camps. In other words, it seems Jordanian officials have concluded that the initial political benefits of hosting Syrian refugees have diminished and that an increasing Syrian presence in the kingdom may threaten national stability, as Jordanian unrest centers on the pressures Syrian refugees place on host communities.
Jordan has a well-established local pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, which covers up to 25% of the country’s needs. The rest of the medications are imported through drug wholesalers and importers (Pharmaceutical industry. Amman (Jordan). All medicines in the Jordanian market must be registered with the Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA). As an independent institution, the JFDA regulates drugs and ensures their safety, quality, and affordability. All registered medications have a fixed national retail price that is determined by the JFDA. To contain the increasing cost of pharmaceuticals, the Jordan Rational Drug List (JRDL) was established. Seventeen national drug formulary technical committees, covering all relevant medical specialties, provide advice on periodic revisions and updates of the JRDL. The list is used to update the Jordan National Drug Formulary, which in turn is used to guide the procurement of pharmaceuticals in the public sector through the Joint Procurement Department (Hammad EA, 2016).
As shown above, alternative strategies can focus on moving more resources for non-communicable diseases and other traditional hospital services to the primary care level, creating refugee-focused services and a strong health promotion program emphasizing prevention and more self-care and home management of illness. These efforts will not only benefit refugees but also reduce strain and financial burden on the health system, freeing resources to commit to prioritizing equitable provision of care between and within both refugee and host country national populations. Utilizing more allied health professionals and auxiliary staff at the primary care and community level may also decrease heath costs.
Pharmaceutical industry. Amman (Jordan): Jordanian Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers; [cited 2016 Oct 20].
Jordan Food and Drug Administration [homepage] Amman (Jordan): The Administration; [cited 2016 Oct 25].
Hammad EA. The use of economic evidence to inform drug pricing decisions in Jordan. Value Health. 2016