Maternal Health in Lebanon

Improving the health of mothers and their newborns who were displaced from Nahr el Bared Refugee Camp, Lebanon

The most recent maternal health projects have focused on supporting displaced pregnant women, new mothers and newborn babies and improving their health in Nahr El Bared refugee camp, Lebanon. Following the conflict in Nahr El Bared Camp, all of the families and the previous health centres were relocated and it became apparent that pregnant women needed urgent support. A survey revealed there was a lack of healthcare and that many pregnant women were suffering from anaemia, high blood pressure and other complications that affect pregnancy.

The maternal health project in Nahr El Bared has:

  • supported over 1100 pregnant women through the distribution of healthy pregnancy kits including multi-vitamins
  • surveyed pregnant women to reveal common issues and needs
  • enabled local NGO health workers to locate and visit the pregnant women, provide personalised health advice and follow-up those with ‘high risk’ pregnancies and to give medical referral when necessary
  • provided post-delivery follow-up, including distribution of new baby kits (baby care products and nappies)

Maternal_Health_Mother_and_baby-220.jpgMother and baby
The local NGO health workers played an essential role in providing women with details of which medical centre to attend for regular health checkups and providing those with health complications with specific advice for specialist referral. During their visits, social workers discussed the importance of regular health checkups at UNRWA clinics and of healthy diet and good nutrition in pregnancy and post-delivery.  Milestones in pregnancy and following delivery were discussed – as was the need to give up smoking. The follow-up survey that accompanied the distribution of new baby kits showed that the mothers-to-be had taken on board much of the advice they were given and the majority reported an increase in their consumption of meat, fish and dairy products. In addition:

·  71% of surveyed women were taking vitamins

·  89% did not smoke during their pregnancies

·  54% of women gave birth to babies whose birth weights were within the normal range


Mothers_looking_through_calender-220.jpgMothers looking through calender
The new mothers were happy to attend the group meetings with the social workers and enjoyed open discussion and Q&A sessions on a wide range of maternal health issues. These meetings led to the development of a very practical ‘maternal health calendar’. It was designed and produced following several meetings with pregnant women, as well as maternal and reproductive health consultants. The colourful and eye-catching calendar was designed to be on permanent display in the home as a helpful guide. On one side, the calendar is divided into nine sections, one for each month of pregnancy highlighting the key information in each month. On the other side, the calendar is divided into 12 sections reflecting the first 12 months of a baby’s life and highlighting the major milestones, essential do’s and don’ts  including vaccinations, and other crucial information.