Syrian Thoraya Mohammed, 32, who gave birth to a baby boy at the Werymma health center and a midwife who works at the center | Photo: Zuhair Abusrewil
Syrian Thoraya Mohammed, 32, who gave birth to a baby boy at the Werymma health center and a midwife who works at the center | Photo: Zuhair Abusrewil

As the armed conflict continues in the Libyan capital Tripoli and the surrounding areas, the number of displaced has reached over 350,000 people, according to the UN. A health care center in Tripoli is offering childbirth and other services for displaced migrant and refugee women.

A local health care center in Libya's capital Tripoli, which used to take care of local women, is now also reaching out to displaced migrant and refugee women. The Werymma primary health care center is expanding its services to females who had to leave their homes with their families due to conflict.

The center continues to perform normal deliveries and follow-up health care for newborns. Its services are available to everybody who visits the center. Performing childbirth services for Libyan women and migrants based in Libya, as well as irregular migrants, is free of charge.

Thoraya Mohammed, 32, of Syria, gave birth to a baby boy at the center. "The baby is in excellent condition, and he is in an incubator," Mohammed told InfoMigrants. "There is also a pediatrician here, and they examined the baby. I am very happy about that," she said.

Mohammed added that her family has been in Libya for nine years. "We got to know the hospital through my husband's relatives," she said. "The center's services are similar to private hospitals. The services are excellent and the medical staff was very good. Care from both doctors and nurses was very good, and they performed all the checks."

Services free of charge with UN funding support

Farida Al-Hadi, the chair of nurses at the Werymma center, said the facility provides all of its services free of charge "to alleviate the suffering of migrants, the displaced and people who do not have the financial ability to receive care in private clinics." Another aim was to support government hospitals.

"Within the Werymma primary health care center's maternity department, we perform natural childbirth services for all Libyan and Syrian nationals and migrants, including from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and others," Al-Hadi said. According to the chair of nurses, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supports the center to take of "dozens of cases" that arrive monthly.

According to UN migration agency IOM, access to health services were reported as a major constraint for migrants in Libya. The majority of the assessed migrants -- 75% -- reported only having limited or no access to health services in Libya.

Abdulhakim Elkhamri, a program analyst with UNFPA in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) said that since the Werymma center was inaugurated in July 2019, the UNFPA-funded mobile health team has provided basic healthcare services to close to 10,000 women and children.

The services included performing 62 deliveries with the help of skilled birth attendants and providing healthcare to 112 newborns, according to Elkhamri. "Most of the recipients of the service are Libyans, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries," he said.

UNFPA to extend services in Libya

Elkhamri said UNFPA has established a referral pathway with local and international partners and stakeholders working on migration to provide reproductive health services, family planning, and clinical management of rape (CMR).

In addition, UNFPA provides mental health and psychosocial health services and health education to all migrants residing in urban settlements or those that are referred to it from detention centers and gathering and departure facilities (GDF) for medical treatment, according to Elkhamri.

In 2020, UNFPA will extend these services in Libya in partnership with the International Medical Corps (IMC) to provide emergency assistance and protection to migrants and refugees settled in urban areas or referred from detention centers, as well as those at disembarkation points and on migrant routes.

Services will also include institutional support to local health authorities, as well as providing supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals to Libyan public health facilities. UNFPA will support the provision of essential health care services, including sexual and reproductive health services, as well as psychosocial support. 

In addition, UNFPA will support specialized protection services for sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence survivors to prevent and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable communities, especially migrants and refugees. 

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