An assessment of antenatal care among Syrian refugees in Lebanon
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CitationBenage, Matthew, P Gregg Greenough, Patrick Vinck, Nada Omeira, and Phuong Pham. 2015. “An assessment of antenatal care among Syrian refugees in Lebanon.” Conflict and Health 9 (1): 8. doi:10.1186/s13031-015-0035-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13031-015-0035-8.
AbstractBackground: After more than three years of violence in Syria, Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees creating significant public health concerns. Antenatal care delivery to tens of thousands of pregnant Syrian refugee women is critical to preventing maternal and fetal mortality but is not well characterized given the multiple factors obtaining health data in a displaced population. This study describes antenatal care access, the scope of existing antenatal care, and antenatal and family planning behaviors and practice among pregnant Syrian refugees in various living conditions and multiple geographic areas of Lebanon. Methods: A field-based survey was conducted between July and October 2013 in 14 main geographic sites of refugee concentration. The assessment evaluated antenatal services among a non-randomized sample of 420 self-identified pregnant Syrian refugee women that included demographics, gestational age, living accommodation, antenatal care coverage, antenatal care content, antenatal health behaviors, antenatal health literacy, and family planning perception and practices. Results: In total, 420 pregnant Syrian refugees living in Lebanon completed the survey. Of these, 82.9% (348) received some antenatal care. Of those with at least one antenatal visit, 222 (63.8%) received care attended by a skilled professional three or more times, 111 (31.9%) 1–2 times, and 15 (4.3%) had never received skilled antenatal care. We assessed antenatal care content defined by blood pressure measurement, and urine and blood sample analyses. Of those who had received any antenatal care, only 31.2% received all three interventions, 18.2% received two out of three, 32.1% received one out of three, and 18.5% received no interventions. Only (41.2%) had an adequate diet of vitamins, minerals, and folic acid. Access, content and health behaviors varied by gestational age, type of accommodation and location in Lebanon. Conclusions: Standards of antenatal care are not being met for pregnant Syrian refugee women in Lebanon. This descriptive analysis of relative frequencies suggests reproductive health providers should focus attention on increasing antenatal care visits, particularly to third trimester and late gestational age patients and to those in less secure sheltering arrangements. With this approach they can improve care content by providing early testing and interventions per accepted guidelines designed to improve pregnancy outcomes.
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