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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
15 December 2011

Health clinic blazes paperless trail in Jordan

November 2011, Jordan — Refugees in Jordan are benefiting from a host of changes at UNRWA health centres. Nuzha clinic in Jordan is trialling a new paperless 'e-health’ system as part of the Agency’s plans to modernise its health care.

The clinic’s new appointment system has cut waiting times and led to better communication between the health care staff.

Dr Nidal Barakat said: “In the old system, the patients had to wait for a long time which caused the clinic to get crowded. The doctors also did not have enough time with the patients.”

Pleased and relaxed

Patient Ghazi Sadek Al-Aarda said: “I come here on monthly basis. It is noticeable that the new appointment system organised the work in the clinic and made the patients pleased and relaxed.”

Human resources are at the core of the reform. Dr Ishtaiwi Abu Zayed, the chief of the health programme, said: “Staff are our biggest asset. They are very important in determining whether other health reform changes are possible or not.”

Paperless system

Under the e-health system, patients’ files will be stored electronically, making it much easier for staff to follow-up on patients’ conditions.

Diabetes specialist Dr Majdi said: “The new system helps save time, paperwork and effort for doctors, staff members and patients. It also improved patients’ assessment, and increased the contact time between the patients and the service providers.”

Dr Barakat added: “The old paper system delayed staff by making double work in writing and filing, but now staff members have more time to invest in medical consultations.”

Communication and health education

UNRWA also installed TV screens and DVDs in its 24 health centres in Jordan in early 2011. The televisions beam health messages into the waiting areas, raising patients’ awareness.

Ahmad, a patient waiting to see the doctor, said: “I did not know before that antibiotics can be harmful. Now I am more aware about the correct use of medicines, thanks to UNRWA’s health videos.”

Earlier in the year, more than 5,000 refugees enjoyed the Zaal, Khadra and Green Apple theatrical performance in Jordan’s ten official refugee camps. The live shows addressed health-related issues and promoted healthy lifestyles, with a special focus on diabetes, smoking and hypertension.

Health reform

The health reform strategy is improving and modernising UNRWA primary health care services to be a comprehensive, efficient, people-centred system. UNRWA is introducing a family health team approach that can meet the evolving needs of the refugee population now and in the future.

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