Refugees with cancer overwhelming health systems in Syria and Jordan

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Photo: © UNHCR/L.Addario

The number of refugees living with cancer is overwhelming health systems in Jordan and Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

On Monday, the agency's top medical experts were echoing the results of a recent study published by the leading British medical journal, the Lancet Oncology.

Paul Spiegel, a doctor who has worked with refugees in the region, said that UNHCR offices are having to make what he described as "agonizing" decisions over who does and who doesn't receive care.

He noted that doctors have had to turn away cancer patients with poor prognosis because caring for them is too expensive.

In Jordan for example, only 48 per cent of refugee applications for cancer treatment were approved between 2010 and 2012.

Adam Musa Khalifa, a UNHCR doctor and co-author of the Lancet article, said even some patients with a good prognosis haven't received proper treatment because the cost is too high.

The article highlights that new approaches to prevent and fund treatment are necessary, and that all measures will need to avoid inequalities between host communities and refugees.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’11″

 

 

 

 

 

 

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