Over a period of a year and a half, a new health project was able to create electronic medical records for more than 10,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Refugees usually do not have paper health records, which can easily be lost or destroyed during the migration journey, if anyone even had them to start with. The new project, which is named Sijilli, an Arabic word for “My Record,” is affiliated with the American University of Beirut’s Global Health Institute, and seeks to archive refugees’ medical information electronically so they and their health service providers can access it anywhere in the world . Ultimately the goal is to improve refugees’ health.
“Many refugees are forced to retake medical tests and incur unnecessary financial burdens just because they do not carry their medical records,” said Nour el-Arnaout, the program’s coordinator, “The new project saves records, saves money and time, and enhances access to health services during the asylum journey.”
Over one million Syrian refugees registered with UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, live in Lebanon, while the government estimates the actual number of displaced Syrians in the country at 1.5 million. With limited local health services and the recent spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, fears have increased that the virus has reached Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, given the high rates of infection in the country.