DAMASCUS -- Sitting in her bed at the intensive care unit of the Obstetric University Hospital, Dania Kadra considers herself lucky to be alive and to have safely delivered her baby boy.
In December 2012, a missile slammed into the house of the pregnant 40-year old mother of three, killing her husband and forcing her and her three children, parents and siblings to move from their rural home to a rented apartment in a suburb of Damascus. To compound her misery, Dania’s doctor, whom she had been visiting regularly in Damascus, told her that she might go through premature delivery and would require a Caesarean section.
But Dania saw no way to pay for the life-saving procedure she needed, since she was displaced, widowed and unable to even meet her family’s living expenses. But when she went to a consultation at the Al Raed Health Centre in her new Damascus neighbourhood, she got a welcome surprise, thanks to a UNFPA-supported voucher programme.
Reaching out to 30,000 women with vouchers for care
Recognizing the difficulty women in the conflict-torn country have in getting obstric and maternal care, the UNFPA office offers vouchers that Syrian women can use to obtain free-of- charge maternal health and obstetric services at the Obstetric University Hospital and reproductive health clinics of the Syrian Family Planning Association. The vouchers are distributed to women in crisis-affected areas by mobile teams and medical volunteers who provide reproductive health services and information. To date, UNFPA, through its implementing partners, has distributed more than 30,000 of these vouchers.
Dania Kadra was one of their recipients.
A safe birth in a time of trouble
With the valuable voucher in hand, she went to the hospital the very next morning. There, she received all the necessary tests, checkups and medications she needed. Two weeks later, on 26 May 2013, she checked into the hospital and delivered a healthy baby boy.
“Dania arrived here in a very bad and delicate condition,” said Dr. Oussama Mohsen, the head of the intensive care section, who is taking care of her. “In addition to the need for an emergency Caesarean section, she suffered from severe pain resulting from uterus lymph nodes. Dania will undergo surgery to treat her illness ـــ and that also will be covered by the UNFPA voucher.” Dr. Mohsen and his colleagues look at UNFPA as an indispensable partner in meeting the needs of women like Dania.
“I’m thankful for UNFPA for providing me with this voucher which has truly saved my life and the life of my baby,” says Dania from her hospital bed. “The medical team here is just amazing. I don’t know what I could have done without their assistance and support.”