In the News

29 May 2013

Born into Crisis: Unwanted Pregnancies in Syria

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A baby in Turkey's Islahiye camp for Syrian refugees.  Photo by: Jodi Hilton/IRIN

ZA’ATARI CAMP - When aid workers with the UNFPA speak to women inside Syria - many of them displaced from their homes and living in cramped collective shelters - they say they would rather do anything than get pregnant.

“No one wants to be pregnant in the shelters… That’s universal wherever we go,” said Laila Baker, UNFPA representative in Syria.

“There is no place to take care of the baby and it’s another mouth to feed.”

In addition, they fear the delivery process will face complications, as access to antenatal care and safe delivery services, including emergency obstetrics, is now extremely limited in the country.

Yet, UNFPA estimates that some 250,000 women in Syria and in refugee settings will become pregnant by the end of 2013.

After more than two years of conflict, Syria’s healthcare system has broken down, hospitals have been destroyed, medical personnel have fled the country, supply routes have been disrupted, and in many places, family planning tools are not readily available.

Fadia Salameh found out she was pregnant after arriving in Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees in northern Jordan. The medical centre in her home town in the suburbs of Hama, "which witnessed heavy shelling", had no more contraceptives in stock, so she stopped taking birth control pills.

"Our village ran out of everything - food, bread, and medicine," she told IRIN from the camp, where she sought help from a UNFPA clinic.

Read the full story on IRIN

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