In Photos: Thinking of the Syrian Mothers in Need of Care, and those Risking their Lives to Provide…

Mother, Fatma Abbas, and her son Jamal Hamoud, visit the MSF clinic in Gaziantep, Turkey on July 12th, 2016. Fatima comes to the clinic because the doctors speak her language and she is more comfortable there, even though it takes her 30 minutes to travel to the clinic from her house. Jamal was born in Turkey at a state facility where her husband helped translate. (Photo: Monique Jaques)

The situation in Syria has been unrelenting. As another year of horrific events comes to a close, our thoughts are with all of the Syrian mothers and children who are especially vulnerable in humanitarian crises such as this.

Medical supplies have been increasingly limited and the need for tangible supplies, trained medical workers and medicines is more critical now than ever. Pregnant women are without prenatal care and healthcare providers are scarce. The compassionate care of midwives is especially needed when trauma is imminent. Especially those equipped with psychological first aid training required of first responders.

Earlier this year Every Mother Counts deployed an emergency grant to Circle of Health International to lead a midwifery training workshop for Syrian midwives in Gaziantep, Turkey. At the time, health workers had become targets and the only way to ensure that women could access appropriate maternity care was to train and equip midwives to go back into Syria. But it was only a drop in the bucket of the need that is there now.

The training itself was postponed several times due to restricted travel for the Syrian midwives who intended to participate. It took six months to initiate the training.

The workshop was offered to seven Syrian midwives over three days and consisted of clinical management of postpartum hemorrhagic emergencies, neonatal recussitation and lessons on how to integrate trauma based care. The goal was to ensure that over 50,000 women and children’s lives could be impacted by the training conducted – but that is only if these seven midwives survive and are able to continue to provide services even while under constant threat.

Projected impact, two years after training. These numbers were calculated based on the monthly numbers of births and antenatal care appointments for each midwife given to COHI by the participating midwives.

Every Mother Counts is dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth is safe for every mother, everywhere. We are thinking of the Syrian mothers in need of care and the people who are trained to serve them, especially those working in conditions such as these and risking their own lives to save the lives of others.

Below are some of those dedicated trainees, who were photographed during the training in June.

Photos below by Monique Jaques.

“My name is Fatima Iskef. I am from Aleppo and I have four children, two boys and two girls. I want to work as a midwife to benefit my country. My father is an obstetrician and delivers babies, and he inspired me to become a midwife. I then discovered that I love this work. The most difficult part of being a midwife in Syria is safety. We must learn every day, and challenge ourselves. Because of the unsafe situation in our country, we must have new knowledge to confront the new situation.”
“My name is Manal Hammoud, I am working as a midwife, and I am from Aleppo, Syria. I was working as a reproductive health officer in Azzaz. Now I’m working in Kilis in Blue Crescent Hospital on the Turkish border with Syria as a midwife and also as a reproductive health officer. I take care of children and women in the gynecology clinic as well as obstetrics. I was inspired to be come a midwife by a humanitarian worker who was a midwife, and I met other midwives who enjoy doing this work. The training is informative because of the difference between the style of training between countries. We will know many new ways to deliver newborns and to assist in the birthing process.”
“My name is Ayshe Jaber from Homs, Syria. I now work as a midwife in the Bab al Salam Border Hospital. I have four young children. I want to raise awareness there within the refugee population about maternal health and help with my services. I want to share the knowledge I gain from this training with the refugee camps on the border with Syria. The biggest problem in Syria we struggle with is malnutrition with pregnant women and a lack of healthcare. They need education about their newborns and pregnancy and delivery and how pregnant women should address the problems during the delivery.”
“My name is Fatima Khyara, and I am from Homs Syria. I study at the Gaziantep University, where I am in my second year in a midwife facility. I am married and pregnant. After I graduate I will stay in Turkey to help pregnant Syrian women, to take care of their health and pregnancy. They are facing many problems communicating with the Turkish doctors and nurses.”
Aisha Sia, Palestinian midwife, who led the three day training in Gaziantep, Turkey on July 12th. Aisha taught the midwvies about postpartum hemorrahaging as well as other techniques and skills regarding delivery.
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