More than 450,000 refugees have crossed the borders from Syria into Lebanon as of the end of April 2013, according to estimates by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. These refugees — almost 80 per cent of whom are women and children — are taxing the resources of more than 1,000 host villages where they are staying. With populations of these host communities soaring, medicine supplies have been depleted and both jobs and housing are becoming scarce.
Working with other UN organizations, UNFPA has been providing humanitarian support to these refugees, who include both Syrian and Palestinian nationals. Its main focus is raising awareness of sexual and reproduction health concerns, including family planning, as well as gender-based violence. As part of its efforts, the Fund has been distributing reproductive health commodities and dignity kits, training health workers to provide social and psychological support and clinical management of rape survivors. The Fund is also raising awareness of young people about reproductive health issues and providing them with safe spaces.
UNFPA is also raising the awareness of women and girls from host communities on important health issues, including prevention of gender-based violence, pre- and post-natal care, nutrition, family planning, reproductive tract and sexually transmitted infections.