After 60 years, the Jordan Red Crescent Society’s mission remains focused on the needs of the most vulnerable

Published: 14 January 2014 21:49 CET

By Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC

After the first Palestinian diaspora in 1948, the Jordan Red Crescent Society created a field hospital consisting of two tents near the largest Palestinian camp in Amman, where the most urgent needs and most vulnerable people came. This became the headquarters for the society.

Now, after 60 years of humanitarian action, the Jordan Red Crescent Hospital is a large block building equipped with consultations rooms, surgery rooms, medical equipment and staff. It was built on, and still promotes, the same ideas. Help and support is provided to those in need without any distinctions.

Omar A. Abu Goura, deputy general manager, says the hospital is a testament to the work of thousands of staff, volunteers and donors. “Over the past few years, we have tried to help all refugees that came to Jordan from Palestinians to Iraqis and now Syrians. But we also treat Jordanians and they can pay a minimum fee for health services,” he says.

Recently, a new programme has been established which allows Syrian refugees to get medical support at the hospital, with or without registration papers, for free. Abu Goura, says the news of the initiative has spread through word of mouth and now most of the refugees from Syria know they have a place to find health assistance when needed.

Education and health facilities provided by the government of Jordan are also available to Syrians, however, in order for them to access them people they have to be registered by UNHCR.

“If they are not registered or if their papers are expired, they cannot access any of these services,” Abu Goura says. “Here is the difference, where we try to fill in the gap and to meet the needs of the most vulnerable. These refugees can be treated for free even if they are not registered, because we believe that health assistance is for everyone.”

When we visited the hospital, it was busy and bustling, patients discussing with doctors, nurses helping sick children and so on. In fact, it was so busy that we were not able to talk with any of the patients and could barely talk with the medical team.


While visiting the operating theatres or the x-ray department, you have the feeling that you’re stepping into the history of humanitarian action. The corridors contain photos of those generous hands who have provided funding for the many thousands of people who have been treated here.

With the last extensions added in 1994, the Jordan Red Crescent Society is able to cover almost all aspects of health support apart from a cardiac unit. And at this time, where increasing numbers of people are arriving in the city and needing urgent assistance, the hospital – and its staff and volunteers – has become a vital element in the lives of thousands of people.