Children who have been affected by war often do not have access to preventative medicine such as vaccines. In one clinic that we ran in East Amman, not one child who came to our clinic had a record of vaccines.
One of the major issues facing the population is the lack of sufficient coverage of childhood immunizations. For example, there have been outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the population that our clinic serves. The reason for this is that many children who moved into the area from Syria, Iraq, and other places in turmoil have not had any immunizations since the war began in their areas. As war in Syria and surrounding areas has now been ongoing for more than 7 years, many children have been born in the high-density tent cities in neighboring countries such as Lebanon. Some infants have missed vaccination all together, as they were born after the initiation of war and the subsequent migration.
Vaccines are available to the population free of charge via Lebanon’s public sector, or at a subsidized amount. A number of barriers have been identified by the families whose children have not received vaccines. These include cost of travel, waiting times, lack of documentation, distant priority, and stigma towards refugees at the vaccine clinic. Given the barriers, our team plans to develop a project to facilitate the vaccination process in order to reduce childhood diseases.