Princeton University Library Catalog

In the Shadows of Suffering: The Health of Syrian Refugee Women in Jordan

Author/​Artist:
Ahmad, Salwa [Browse]
Format:
Senior thesis
Language:
English
Advisor(s):
Amon, Joseph J. [Browse]
Department:
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Certificate:
Princeton University. Program in Global Health and Health Policy [Browse]
Class year:
2017
Summary note:
Since the eruption of Syria’s civil war, a humanitarian crisis involving millions of refugees has ensued. Half of the Syrian refugee population consists of women, who become vulnerable due to the health challenges they face in refugee settlements. Particularly, Syrian refugee women who have settled in urban areas in Jordan have trouble addressing their health needs, due to barriers that arise from long-existing problems in response infrastructure and recent changes in health policies. Evaluating the health situation of Syrian refugee women can elucidate whether the efforts of stakeholders are truly serving their intended beneficiaries. This thesis investigated the historical response infrastructure for responding to health in refugee crises, and the current situation of Syrian women in urban parts of Jordan to determine the most common barriers to health, and their root causes. To understand the history of the infrastructure for refugee health response, this thesis utilized the UNHCR Archives, which revealed the breadth of activities initiated by UN agencies to respond to women’s needs. Yet, survey results from field posts exposed that despite their response efforts, refugee women were still burdened with a multitude of health challenges. To gain an insight to the health situation in Jordan, this thesis analyzed findings from fifteen semi-structured interviews conducted with Syrian refugee women settled in Amman. The research findings indicate that the most common barriers that Syrian women dealt with included cost, legal status, and access to medicines. These barriers, in turn, had resulted in negative health outcomes for these women. Recent major policy changes in Jordan and response infrastructure issues can be attributed to the existing health barriers. The underlying causes of the lack of health care access can be traced back to the fact that legal agreements and response agencies have not properly prioritized refugee women’s health. Since the Syria crisis has proven to be ever-growing, these issues need to be addressed in a timely and effective manner. This thesis offers the following policy suggestions to various stakeholders: revisit international frameworks for refugee and health rights, appeal for more sustainable funding, increase NGO engagement, improve existing infrastructure, and emphasize the humanity of refugee women. These recommendations will lead to increased access to health for Syrian refugee women in Jordan, thus enabling them to achieve greater health outcomes.