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Housing conditions and health, Jalazone Refugee Camp

I.A. Al-Khatib and H. Tabakhna

We investigated some of the housing conditions at Jalazone Refugee Camp and their impact on refugees’ health inside the camp, especially those with respiratory symptoms and diseases.

Reference & resource, click here Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal Volume 12, 2006 |  Volume 12, issue 1/2 |  Housing conditions and health in Jalazone Refugee Camp in Palestine

Full project description: 

In 1948, most of the Palestinian people, whose normal place of residence was Pa-lestine, lost both their homes and means of livelihood when they were moved out to the other parts of Palestine, later known as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or to neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Palestinian refugees were scattered in 58 camps within these countries. Jalazone Refugee Camp is among the 19 refugee camps that were created in the West Bank. It is located 6 km to the north of Ramallah.

Many studies have confirmed the relation between housing conditions and health. Direct factors included site of residential area, building materials, natural lighting and ventilation, crowding and availability of and access to water and sanitation. Indirect factors included proximity to health care facilities, access to education, transportation and place of employment and tenure.

Conditions inside the home can have a significant effect on health. It has been found that dampness in the home was the major environmental factor that could be linked to many respiratory diseases: cold, bronchitis, sore throat and ear infection. Cold and dampness in the home may lead to respiratory diseases, infections and allergies. People in damp housing pay more for health services than people living in healthy housing. 

In a study carried out in Ramallah, Palestine, it was found that poor ventilation caused dampness and this may lead to tuberculosis, dyspepsia, allergies and psychological illness. Overcrowding facilitated the spread of infectious diseases, e.g. common cold, tuberculosis, influenza. It also led to psychological stress: blood pressure, anxiety and stress were higher among inhabitants who had a negative perception of their residential environment. 

Housing conditions in Jalazone Refugee Camp are poor and we found a statistically significant relationship between certain respiratory diseases and the housing conditions. Half of the respondents attributed respiratory conditions to weather changes, so some effort is needed to increase the awareness of the population about the causes of such conditions.




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