May 14th to the 20th marks National Women’s Health week, an American campaign led by the US Department of Health and Human Serviced – Office on Women’s Health, which is designed to raise understanding for women of all ages on how to attain a better quality of life. The campaign informs women of a few simple life style changes and reasonable goals to aid them in becoming healthier and more active.
On the other side of the world, the Syrian Civil war drags on through its sixth year with the Refugee Crisis in tow. Women of this country, be they displaced or not, face a series of health issues. Leading a healthy lifestyle is something that could easily be considered a luxury, one that members of more disenfranchised or underprivileged societies such as Syria are not privy to. During Woman’s health week, its vital that we try and raise awareness to women. Period.
Many researchers speculate that a mental health crisis is currently in full swing in Syria. A 2015 German study by the German Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists showed that 70 percent of refugee’s spoken to had witnessed violence and 50 percent had been first hand victims (IRIN). Unsurprisingly, emotional and psychiatric issues followed.
In a situation which seems so bleak and oppressive, certain people rise to the occasion to deliver the much-needed health care to women and girls in Syria. Midwife Shatha Al Mostafa for instance, has been a midwife for two years, working amongst the destruction and conflict of Syria, often in placed under bombardment, to deliver much needed health care. Health care for women is primarily administered by midwifes in Syria, especially for any pregnancy related issues. An approximate 360,000 pregnant women and millions more younger girls are effected by the ongoing conflict (UNFPA.org). You can read more about Shatha here:
It’s important that during this challenging time in Syria, and during National women’s health week, that we consider not only the way to improve the physical and emotional health of women here in the west, but also in Syria and other locations rocked by armed turmoil.