Life goes on. Despite all the conflict, loss, and uncertainty for the future, displaced families in Iraq show tremendous resilience as they work to rebuild shattered lives. For mothers, that may mean giving birth while living in a crowded camp or in the shell of an unfinished building.

Mothers and their babies visit Laylan 2 clinic in Iraq

Life goes on. Despite all the conflict, loss, and uncertainty for the future, displaced families in Iraq show tremendous resilience as they work to rebuild shattered lives. For mothers, that may mean giving birth while living in a crowded camp or in the shell of an unfinished building.

Fazia visits the Medair clinic with her son Hassan.

Fazia visits the Medair clinic with her son Hassan.

Fazia lives in Laylan 2 camp with her family of six in a two-room tent and she shares a kitchen and washroom with four other families. Her son Hassan is 26 days old, and he has developed jaundice. Fazia and Hassan depend on Medair’s free primary care clinic in Laylan 2 Camp. They have visited the doctor five times since Hassan’s birth to monitor his condition. While at the clinic, Fazia also receives postnatal examinations.

Our health team noticed that few mothers were coming in for their postnatal examinations. They came up with the idea of assembling a free kit of baby supplies that they would give as a gift for mothers who came in for a postnatal exam.

“The response has been amazing,” said Damaris, Project Manager with Medair’s health team. “The baby kit looks like something small, but it honours the mother and the family for their dedication on giving birth into an unstable situation. For me, this shows there is hope for the future, even when living circumstances are challenging.”

Hannah and Alea receive a postnatal exam at the Medair clinic.

When Fazia visited the clinic with Hassan, she brought her friend Hannah. Fazia was thrilled to learn that Hassan’s condition had improved and his weight was healthy. Meanwhile, Hannah and her newborn girl Alea were examined by the doctors.

During a postnatal examination, doctors and nurses examine the mother and child for infection, discuss how the baby is feeding, and check the hearing, vital signs, reflexes, and weight gain of the infant.

“It feels like they are celebrating my baby with me,” said Hannah, who received her free baby kit with essential supplies like nappies, nappy cream, a towel, a sleeper, baby soap, and shampoo. “It is a very nice surprise.”

Since beginning to provide free baby kits to mothers, postnatal visits have sharply increased in Laylan 2 Camp.  “To welcome a baby is something positive in the midst of the difficulty of living in a camp,” said Damaris. “If we can support them with the baby kits, then it is the right thing to do.”

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In Iraq, Medair provides vulnerable people with shelter, health care, psychosocial support, safe drinking water, latrines, and hygiene. Medair’s work in Iraq is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, and generous private donors.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.