“Things are getting worse every day” for Palestinian families in Lebanon

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s Programme Manager in Lebanon, Wafa Dakwar, spoke to a Palestinian woman in the south of Lebanon about the struggles she is facing during the country’s economic crisis and how MAP’s midwives are helping her through this incredibly tough time.

Sara* lives in Ein el Helweh Palestinian refugee camp with her husband Bassam* and two young children. When Sara and Bassam first got married, they lived in a village in south Lebanon. Bassam used to work as a plumber, and the family were managing until their house burned down after an unfortunate accident. Bassam then suffered a health problem that caused him partial paralysis. He was no longer able to work and the family began to struggle financially.

Sara’s father offered to host them in his house in Ein el Helweh camp until Bassam undergoes the necessary surgery to help him recover and return to work. Sara was then able to secure a job as a supermarket cashier to help her pay for her husband’s treatment and medicines, and provide the essentials for her children.

However, following Lebanon’s economic crisis and the sharp devaluation of the currency by more than 85%, coupled with all-time-high inflation, Sara’s salary collapsed and was not enough for her to cover transportation costs alone. This forced her to quit her job and she became reliant on her father’s and brother’s support.

“My family helps us a lot and takes care of my children’s expenses, but the situation we are living in is very difficult for everyone and we can’t stop feeling under constant pressure financially,” said Sara. “Before the crisis, our life was easy and we were happy, now things are getting worse every day. It is a very bad feeling when one of my children, who has asthma, needs medicine and I can’t afford to pay for it.”

Sara heard about MAP’s work supporting women and children from a mother in her community, who benefited from home visits by MAP’s community midwives and nurses. The home visits provide health and nutrition screening and counselling, breastfeeding support, and psychological support for pregnant women and nursing mothers, and monitor the growth and development of newborn babies.

When Sara first found out about her pregnancy, she contacted Zeina, one of MAP’s midwives, and asked for her support. “Zeina responded to my call immediately, even though it was a holiday. Shortly afterwards, she visited me and started following up my pregnancy. Despite having two kids, the support of midwife Zeina made this experience of pregnancy much better,” said Sara.

“I benefitted a lot from the information and support that Zeina provided. I constantly felt that someone was by my side, taking care of me, my health, and my psychological wellbeing. She taught me how to take iron pills, and always repeated that my health, as well as the health of my baby, is a priority − which mothers sometimes overlook during challenging conditions. Zeina always follows up with me and keeps in touch, especially if I have any problems,” Sara added.

Sara thanked MAP for helping women in the Palestinian refugee camps, and for treating them with dignity and respect.

Please consider donating to MAP to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.


*Names have been changed to protect the identities of people involved.

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