“The midwife’s support made all the difference”

By Wafa Dakwar, Medical Aid for Palestinians' (MAP’s) Senior Programme Officer in Lebanon

Samira* is a Palestinian mother from Beddawi camp in North Lebanon. She has a five-year-old daughter, Rama*, from a previous marriage who is staying with her father. Even though by law Samira has the right to see her daughter, her ex-husband rarely allows Rama to visit. This is affecting Samira’s mental wellbeing; she barely eats and is always concerned about whether her daughter is being treated well by her step-mother. 

After a complicated divorce, Samira remarried and is now eight months pregnant. According to Samira, her second husband, Ahmad*, is a very good person who is kind and generous. Like many Palestinian refugees, who are restricted from working in many professions in Lebanon, Ahmad does not earn much due to the limited work opportunities. They live in a single room house with no windows for sunlight, but Samira keeps the door open to have fresh air and natural light. She feels safe in this camp and considers the camp’s residents as family.

When Samira found out she was pregnant, she was concerned as her previous pregnancy and delivery were complicated. She remembered that her neighbour once told her about MAP’s team of community midwives who provide home-based consultations and support to expectant and new mothers. Samira asked the neighbour for midwife Amneh’s number and then contacted her to ask for help. The midwife visited Samira the next day and carefully examined her and assessed her health and pregnancy condition.

“When I first visited Samira, she had severe iron deficiency – anaemia – which is considered a risk factor during pregnancy. She was stressed, worried, and had no appetite. It was important to help her relax and to address her concerns and reassure her,” Amneh explained. In one of the visits, the midwife detected a minor problem related to the baby’s growth so she referred Samira to UNRWA’s gynecologist for further follow-up. Samira made a good improvement over the course of her pregnancy; at eight months she was no longer anaemic and was more confident and looking forward to having her baby.

This month, Samira gave birth to a healthy baby boy, which has made her and Ahmad very happy. “Having the midwife’s support made all the difference to me,” she told us. “I used to talk to her about concerns that I was not able to share with anyone else. Amneh was my only source of medical and health advice and support as I could not access regular services and consultations which, due to COVID-19, became limited to emergency cases. Amneh would answer my questions at any time and referred me for further investigations when needed. She helped me overcome anemia and taught me which foods are nutritious. She was very respectful and understanding and always gave examples of foods that I could afford.”

“I am very thankful for this project and the midwives and hope they continue to help mothers in the camps,” said Samira.

It’s because of your kind donations that our midwives are able to continue their vital work. Thank you.

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* Names changed to protect identity

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