Women’s voices from Lebanon: Asma News

Women’s voices from Lebanon: Asma

Women’s voices from Lebanon: Asma

In March, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Amel International and MdM were pointing out that women living in Lebanon are not equal in their access to safe delivery and family planning. To raise awareness among the public as well as policy-makers and international donors on this major issue, Amel Association and MdM collect and regularly share the stories of these women.

Asma[1] is a migrant worker from Sudan. She has been living in Lebanon for the past ten years. Her story could be the story of many other vulnerable women who do not have the financial resources to access Lebanon expensive healthcare system, especially safe delivery and family planning.

Asma is 40 years old. She grew up in Khartoum, where she got married as she was only 15 year-old. She had her first child in her early twenties. She delivered by herself, without the support of any doctor. When her husband flew Sudan to work in Lebanon, she stayed alone with her little girl for several years, stuck in the middle of the severe crisis tearing her country apart. She finally managed to reach Lebanon but, with no official refugee status, she has no rights and does not get much help.

One year and a half ago, Asma gave birth in Lebanon for the third time. Paying 40,000 Lebanese pounds each month for ante-natal consultations and tests was a real challenge and she regularly could not afford it. When she was about to deliver, she went to the Lebanese hospital recommended by her gynecologist. As she could not pay for the delivery upfront, the staff of the hospital refused to let her in. She was about to give birth on the floor of the entrance when her gynecologist interfered. Her husband had then to pay 1,800 dollars for the delivery. Asma got really affected by this bitter depressing experience. She does not want to neither feel nor remember what she had to go through.

[1] The name was changed to preserve the privacy of the interviewee.