As hundreds of thousands flee their homes due to military operations in northeastern Syria, displacement has disrupted access to basic health services, particularly reproductive and maternal health care, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Fighting between Syria and Turkey has resulted in massive displacement over the past few months, causing over 200,000 people to leave their homes, after Turkey launched an operation against Kurdish-led forces in Syria on Oct. 9.
While a majority have returned to their native cities, 75,000 still remain displaced, according to the United Nations.
Out of the 75,000 displaced, 18,860 are women and girls of reproductive age, all of whom need access to reproductive health care, maternal health services, and menstrual hygiene products.
In response, the UNFPA has stepped in to help, targeting remote villages in need of supplies and assistance and providing approximately 27,700 women with reproductive health care between the months of October and December.
UNFPA Supplies is the UNFPA’s program committed to expanding family planning services by providing quality contraceptives and maternal health medicine to women in developing countries.
In 2018, UNFPA Supplies provided mobile clinics and additional health care personnel to women displaced from their homes in Syria.
Several mobile reproductive health teams are also providing aid to villages currently lacking medical resources.
One woman shared her own story with UNFPA after being displaced while pregnant. After first being displaced from her home in the Qadisia Village nearly three years ago, Asma’a Al Issa was displaced again, this time while pregnant.
“I really was worried before giving birth,” Al Issa told UNFPA.
While displaced, she was able to get access to maternal care through a clinic run by Al Mawada, a nonprofit organization that receives support from UNFPA.
After going into labor in October in an increasingly hostile environment, Al Issa gave birth to a healthy baby girl thanks to the health service providers at the clinic.
“Now I am very happy to have a baby girl,” she said.