Stories

“I was afraid of losing my daughter”

The sun was shining, and the weather was cool as Medair’s health team travelled to Irbid, north Jordan, where they are providing cash for health assistance to support vulnerable refugees and Jordanians to overcome ongoing access barriers to healthcare. Medair’s cash for health programme ensures that vulnerable families can still access the health support they need by covering the costs associated with emergency treatment.  

The health team, lead by Dr. Aysar, Health Officer, met with Heba, a 26-year-old mother of four. Heba and her family came to Jordan as refugees from Syria in 2012.  

“Our home was destroyed; we lost everything’’. Said Heba. They were sent to a Syrian refugee camp, however, life in the camp was very hard, and they left the camp.  

Heba later became pregnant, and delivered a baby girl and named her Watan. Just a few hours old, Watan’s body was cold, and she was choking. The doctor told Heba that it was normal, as sometimes the baby can swallow the fluid that surrounds them in the mother’s belly during childbirth. Baby Watan did not appear to be in a critical condition, and as Heba didn’t have enough money to keep her in the hospital or to further investigate her health status, she took her baby home. 

“Watan was normal, except when she started to cry, her skin color changed to blue all over. I thought this was normal and happens to babies all the time, especially when they feel uncomfortable, and I didn’t know that was indicated as a medical condition.” Said Heba. 

Heba, and her husband in their home with their daughter Watan.

One day, while Heba was breastfeeding her baby, Watan choked and suddenly stopped breathing. Heba and Ahmad took her to closest hospital, where Watan was resuscitated.  A pediatrician who suspected that Watan had heart disease examined Watan, and consulted a cardiologist. After a week of treatment and investigation, the doctor explained that Watan was born with abnormalities in her heart and has a hole in her heart. 

Watan’s condition continued to deteriorate. She urgently needed open-heart surgery, or she would die. Unfortunately, Ahmad and Heba could not afford the surgery.  

Baby Watan is but one of many families that cannot afford medical treatment and critical lifesaving surgery. Medair supports refugees and vulnerable Jordanian families with cash assistance to pay for Dialysis, which is a medical treatment for kidney failure, and surgery for heart diseases. In March 2022, Medair became aware of a significant gap in services for hemodialysis patients and for patients requiring cardiovascular surgery in Jordan. UNHCR informed Medair that there were 87 patients who had not yet received treatment, and a further 33 refugees waiting for cardiovascular surgery.  

Heba submitted Watan’s medical notes, explaining her baby’s medical condition and requesting support. Medair received and assessed the case notes, and was able to help. Medair has service agreements with a group of affiliated hospitals which provide advanced medical interventions. Watan was directly referred to a hospital where she saw specialist, who performed her surgery successfully.  Medair’s health team was with Baby Watan every step of the way, supporting the family until she was fully recovered and discharged to go home. Medair paid the expenses to cover her surgery and care at the hospital. Baby Watan She was the first to have open heart surgery paid for by Medair. Since June 2022, 11 patients have had cardiovascular surgeries paid for by Medair.  

Doctor Aysar checks on Watan’s recovery during his visit

Doctor Aysar, a Medair Health officer explains, “I remember the first time that I saw Watan, she was so small and so vulnerable. But now I feel so happy that we supported Watan, now she is well, and she doesn’t need to have her health closely monitored anymore.” 

Heba with her daughter Watan

Heba was grateful to the health staff who cared for Watan and to Medair, “I didn’t imagine that I would find support in this short time, I feel happy when I see Watan eating, drinking, and sleeping. I’m thankful to the people who saved our child’s life. I was afraid of losing my daughter but now I can sleep.” 

 


With support from the German Federal Foreign Office, the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and private donors, Medair provides cash for health interventions in Jordan to vulnerable refugees and Jordanians.  

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.