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Rukban Camp: pregnant refugee women at risk of abortion as no health facilities

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Syrian pregnant women in deserted Rukban camp at the Jordanian border are at risk of birth complications that might be fatal due to severe shortages in healthcare facilities.

Chokri Shihab, the director of Palmyra medical center, said that 6 women in the camp are in urgent need of a cesarean delivery that cannot be performed in the camp because of the shortage of staff, equipment and medical supplies. The Jordanian authorities have recently closed the UNICEF medical point there, for fear of the spread of Coronavirus in the region.

“Efforts in pressuring the regime succeeded and 4 of the women were approved to undergo urgent cesarean deliveries in its areas. On Monday, a Red Crescent team moved one woman, and it is expected that two more will be moved after the approval of their families, since no guarantees for their safety were given by the regime.”

The health situation of pregnant women is getting worse with every delay in the operation, which increases the risk on both mother and fetus. 

According to Shihab, the situation in the camp that hosts 40,000 people, is dire amid lack of pre and post-natal care, with most childbirths happening under the supervision of one midwife in very unhygienic and unsuitable places. Because of the siege, there are only two options for the people of Rukban camp: either to be sent to regime-controlled areas with the risk of detention, or to Jordan, where every case is studied separately and the approval of authorities and UNICEF taking time. 

One woman said she could not return to her hometown in regime-controlled areas for fear of arrest. She said that, while her pregnancy is going well, she is still apprehensive of the next two months, as childbirth in the middle of the desert is risky and possibly fatal.

The regime's siege on Rukban camp made it impossible for pregnant women to have a healthy diet, which led them to rely on bread and tea for nutrition for them and their unborn babies.

Rukban camp, in the far southeast of Syria, holds around 12 thousand displaced people, the majority of which are women and children who fled the eastern countryside of Homs and the Syrian steppe, which was controlled by the Islamic State in 2014.

The nine-year-old war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and forced 13 million people from their homes, half of whom have left their shattered homeland.

Zaman Al Wasl
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