Midwivery Services for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

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Syria’s civil war has displaced over 4 million individuals since 2011; it is estimated that there are nearly 1.3 million refugees living in Lebanon, 275,000 of whom are Syrian women of childbearing age. Women living in conflict settings face significant challenges related to reproductive health; according to the IRC, lack of access to reproductive health services accounts for 60% of preventable maternal deaths in crisis areas. Obstetric care for Syrian refugees in Lebanon follows this pattern where women face significant deficits in access to family planning services, including and antenatal and postnatal care. In addition, family planning and obstetric care is often unaffordable, and female providers are rarely available to Syrian women, a critical requirement for many due to cultural and religious traditions.  

Given the limited access to female obstetric professionals, the financial barriers faced by individuals, and the significant maternal health benefits realized via midwifery services, the need for accessible and affordable midwifery care is essential to the Syrian refugee population. Therefore, we strongly recommend forming a coalition between the UNHCR and UNFPA, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Lebanon’s Ministry of Health, and other NGOs to unify available funds and coordinate fundraising activities. This combined effort will support both the employment of current midwives and the training of new midwives to reduce provider shortage. These training programs can be used to educate Syrian women to serve as midwives within their own community; simultaneously alleviating both issues of women’s unemployment and improving access to care.

 

“Saving Lives in Syria – State of the World’s Midwifery 2014” – United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

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