31. Jan 2019

2019 Fundraiser: improving foot care for refugees

Gwendolyn Carleton
WDF’s 2019 fundraiser builds on a long-standing partnership with UNRWA to protect the feet of a vulnerable group – Palestine refugees in Jordan.
A Palestinian man receives a diabetes foot exam in the West Bank. WDF’s 2019 fundraiser will extend such quality care to thousands of refugees across Jordan.
WDF has worked with the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) since 2002 to improve diabetes prevention and care in the agency’s health centres across the region. 
WDF’s 2019 fundraiser project, Prevention and Management of Diabetic Foot for Refugees with Diabetes, will build on the learnings from this long-term partnership, with a special focus on preventing diabetic foot ulcers and, ultimately, amputations among Palestine refugees in Jordan through education, empowerment and capacity building of health staff. 
“The burden of diabetes is continuously growing: each year we are seeing a 5% increase in patients with diabetes registered in UNRWA clinics, reaching more than 148,000 by the end of 2017,” explains Dr Yousef Shahin, Chief for Disease Prevention & Control at UNRWA and WDF’s partner on the project. “It is essential to ensure that diabetic foot is properly managed ahead of time to prevent the high cost of treating its complications and disabling effects.”
Nearly 17% of registered Palestine refugees worldwide live in 12 recognised UNRWA camps in Jordan. Their diabetes prevalence is higher than those in host countries, Dr Shahin says, noting that the diabetes rate in Jordan is 10.6% for those above 40 years of age, and 12.1% agency–wide. 
“UNRWA faces challenges in diabetes care and diabetic foot care - patient self-empowerment and disease management are crucial,” Dr Shahin says. Health staff are largely generalists with heavy workloads, who often lack tools, equipment and time for patient education, he adds.
26 health centres strengthened
WDF’s 2019 fundraiser project will be rolled out at all 26 UNRWA health centres in Jordan. The project builds on learnings from past partnership projects WDF11-614, WDF14-898, WDF16-1406 and WDF10-555, a successful similar foot care project implemented in the West Bank and Gaza.
Its targets are:
90 doctors and 200 nurses trained in diabetic foot care
26 clinics strengthened to provide diabetic foot care, including provision of diagnostic equipment (monofilaments, doppler ultrasound, thermal printers) and basic exercise equipment for physical activity improvement
50,000 educational materials / brochures produced on diabetes foot care
46,200 patients screened for diabetic foot care
Related equipment procured and used
The project will take place over 12-18 months (2019-21).