By Suhad Zarafili of Caritas Jordan
A lot of migrant women come to Caritas Jordan’s health clinic with high blood pressure and diabetes. These are women who don’t drink or smoke because all the money they earn they send home. They often suffer from stress and depression and their anger and frustration they keep inside.
All the migrant women who come to our clinic are suffering. They are sick physically and mentally and most of them are without work permits.
The women often talk about their problems to the nuns at Caritas Jordan. Then the sisters go to their homes to support them and give them advice.
We have an outpatient clinic, a dentist’s and women can also come to us for eye tests and other health issues, as well as for food and moral support.
I think migrant women have more illnesses because they work harder. They have pain in their muscles, bones, hands and feet. You can often see them rubbing their shoulders or wringing their hands to ease the pain. Often their sponsor (employer) won’t believe they are in pain and will refuse to pay for healthcare.
If women have cancer, by the time they come to us it’s often in the late stages. They may have had pain but they think that it’s from their work. If a migrant worker explains to their employer about pain they often won’t pay for them to see the doctor.
When the women suffer from a chronic disease such as diabetes we give them medication on a monthly basis. If we don’t have the medicines we refer them to the Italian hospital next door – as we also do if a woman has depression and needs to see a psychiatrist. The Caritas clinic also does monthly blood tests to monitor the condition of sick women.
Most of the suicides of migrant domestic workers in Jordan are of Indonesian women. They throw themselves out of the window. I think they feel homesick – especially if they’ve left their children behind.