Safe Birth Even Here: Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp
20 May 2016
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Nowhere is the risk of dying during childbirth greater than in disaster settings.
Today, 3 in 5 maternal deaths occur in countries affected by, or prone to, conflict or natural disaster.
Through its Safe Birth Even Here campaign, UNFPA is working to ensure women and girls in crises settings worldwide have access to the care they need before, during and after delivery.
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Zaatari refugee camp
Of the 5 million refugees who have fled the violence in Syria, over 80,000, including approximately 19,000 women of reproductive age, are currently living in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp.
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An estimated 2,300 women and girls living in Zaatari are currently pregnant.
They face increased risks of complications during their pregnancies – due to the malnutrition, trauma and violence that often occur during displacement.
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The UNFPA clinic
Each day the staff at the UNFPA-supported clinic provides sexual and reproductive health services to more than 100 women and helps 8 to 10 women safely deliver.
Here, Dr. Rafat prepares to deliver the 5,317th to be born in the maternity ward. Since the ward opened in 2013, there have been zero maternal deaths.
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Midwife Hanan
Midwife Hanan snips the umbilical cord of baby 5,317, newly named Muhammad.
Muhammad’s mother had given birth to five babies in rapid succession, which complicated Muhammad’s delivery. But all went smoothly, and mother and baby are happy and healthy.
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Ruwa and Tahani
Ruwa, age 8, sits next to her mother Tahani, who is 9-months pregnant with her seventh child.
Tahani suffers from anaemia and feels lucky that she can regularly visit the UNFPA clinic. Her sister, still in Syria, had to travel over 100 kilometres through conflict ridden-territory to find an open hospital where she could give birth.
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Hannan
Hannan, age 22, is 9-months pregnant with her second baby to be born in Zaatari.
She fled Darra, in southwest Syria, four years ago.
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Victoria
Victoria, age 18, waits nervously as Dr. Tayfor examines her two-hour-old son.
Girls under 20 are much more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth than women in their twenties. And amidst the chaos experienced by the refugees, rates of child marriage and adolescent pregnancy are increasing.
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Irbid and Maram
Irbid is waiting for a check-up for her teenage daughter Maram, who married at age 15 and is now 20-weeks pregnant.
Maram’s husband has gone to Kuwait in search of work. Left on her own in the camp, Maram had no idea where to go for medical care. Her mother referred her to the UNFPA clinic – then travelled all day from her home in Irbid to take her there.
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Yasmeen
Yasmeen, age 17, is 9-months pregnant. She has been attending sessions at the clinic on how to breastfeed and care for her baby.
Many adolescent mothers have been separated from their own mothers and female relatives, and have little knowledge of what to expect during and after childbirth.
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Home visits
A group of 16 adult women gather in a Zaatari tent for an outreach session on the dangers of child marriage.
Dina, a clinic psychologist , offers them information about the benefits of postponing their daughters’ and young relatives’ weddings until after age 18.
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Counselling
A Jordanian midwife consoles a 17-year old who has just miscarried.
In addition to maternal care, the staff also provide counselling and information about all aspects of sexual and reproductive health – for women and girls who often have no other source for the information.
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Education
Props like these help the staff teach the women and girls of Zaatari about antenatal care and sexual and reproductive health.
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Group sessions
Everyday, health educator Malek Ababneh holds a group session on one useful topic.
Today, she is talking to women over 35 about menopause and breast examinations.
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Outside the clinic
A painted mural depicts a father kissing his newborn baby, who is wrapped tightly in her mother’s arms.
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Safe Birth. Even Here.
It is a sign to all who pass by that inside you can experience safe birth, even here.
To learn more about the campaign, visit www.safebirthevenhere.org.
© Alixandra Fazzina/NOOR/Picture This Productions
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