Born into Exile
New Beginnings at Azraq Hospital
For a little while, human suffering seemed to be subsiding in war-torn Syria.
However, intensive fighting recently returned to the conflict that has now lasted longer than World War II. This is a sombre reminder that the humanitarian challenge is sadly, far from over.
The Syrian refugee crisis is the biggest one of our time. An unimaginable 13.5 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, 6.3 million Syrians are internally displaced and 5 million have fled the country.
The Kingdom of Jordan hosts over 655 000 Syrians driven into exile. The small country has a proud history of hosting refugees, making it less of a surprise that Jordan, in April 2014, opened its second camp for Syrian refugees: Azraq Camp.
The camp has capacity to shelter 50 000 people, is home to several primary health care centres and one fully equipped hospital. Thanks to funding from the European Union, International Medical Corps runs a ward at the hospital, focusing on reproductive health and delivery care.
Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age in developing countries. All women have an equal right to health, but the risk of dying because of childbirth varies greatly between high-income and low-income countries. In certain parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the rate is still unacceptably high. However, things are progressing: Nearly 50 per cent more women survive their pregnancy and delivery today, than in 1990. We have aid and medical professionals like the ones working at the Azraq Hospital to thank for that.
Responding to the needs on ground, the delivery ward at Azraq Hospital has assisted several thousands of pregnant women leading up to their delivery and its committed medical staff has overseen the delivery well over one thousand boys and girls in just one year.
Meanwhile, it is important to remember that these children are born into limbo, into a ‘life-on-hold’ - to parents with no choice but to bide their time.
Welcoming a healthy child into the world hopefully brings a moment of sheer joy amid consistent tribulation. Were it not for the brave mothers, supported by family and skilled medical staff - peril would likely overshadow this milestone in life.
As the work continues, one can only hope that this new generation of Syrians receive the childhood they deserve: One free from violence and shelling.