Just a few weeks after opening on August 4, MSF’s maternity unit in Domiz refugee camp, in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, is crowded with Syrian women, many of them pregnant or holding babies. All have chosen to take advantage of a range of maternity services, from antenatal check-ups to postnatal vaccinations, provided by staff who are themselves refugees.
As more refugees arrive from Syria—around 60,000 according to unofficial numbers—and as many get married and give birth, the need for a dedicated maternity unit is clear. An estimated one in five of the camp’s residents is a woman of reproductive age, and an estimated 2,100 babies are born in the camp each year.
“Our clinic used to provide basic reproductive care services, but women had to go all the way into town to deliver in a very crowded hospital,” says MSF’s Dr. Adrian Guadarrama. “But with the new maternity unit up and running, now we only need to refer high-risk pregnancies to Dohuk, taking much pressure off the hospital.”
To learn more about the impact of the war in Syria on civilians, go to http://reachofwar.msf.org/