Risking Death to Give Birth: The consequences of conflict on the health needs of women and girls in Syria

Authored by: Human Appeal

Categories: Global Public Health, Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: COVID-19, Human Development, Migration, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Country: Syria
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2020
Citation: “Risking Death to Give Birth: The Consequences of Conflict on the Health Needs of Women and Girls in Syria.” Human Appeal, May 2020.

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Executive Summary

This report uses a human rights approach to highlight some of the ways in which the Syrian conflict has adversely affected women and girls through the lens of their right to reproductive health.

The report identifies where quality maternal healthcare is lacking in Syria, particularly in the northwest, as well the major challenges faced by medical staff and patients alike who have risked their lives daily under threat of deliberate attack.

For almost a decade, millions of Syrian women of reproductive age affected by the crisis and thousands of medical staff have demonstrated tremendous strength and resilience in the face of unfathomable adversity. However, they are still faced with a global aid industry and political arena that, overall, is neglecting women’s health.

Conflict-affected states currently receive an average of 60 percent less funding for reproductive healthcare despite all major health indicators being worse. Syrian women are also routinely being denied the opportunity to ensure that their right to health is upheld and are still grossly underrepresented in decision-making positions at the local, state and institutional levels.

For so many Syrian women and girls, access to sustained reproductive health services can be a matter of life or death. The report calls upon the international community to heighten their commitment to protecting the full realisation of the reproductive health rights of women and girls, especially in time of conflict when the need is often most severe.