In Lebanon, providing help for women to give birth safely

In Lebanon, maternal mortality has tripled due to the socio-economic crisis and the lack of health personnel. Première Urgence Internationale comes to the aid of pregnant women to ensure safe and medical deliveries.

 Sarah, midwife for Première Urgence Internationale, during a health counseling session on sexual and reproductive health in Berqayel, Akkar governorate I © Première Urgence Internationale

I really appreciate the support delivered by  Première Urgence Internationale to our family” said Rania[1], one of the many women supported by our organization through the birth cash assistance program. “We live in misery and giving birth at the hospital nowadays is very expensive, especially that my family and I cannot afford paying any extra fees as we live in dire socioeconomic circumstances” adds the young Syrian refugee, living in the area of Akkar in North Lebanon.


Amid the deteriorating socioeconomic crisis lingering in Lebanon and leaving a gap in the provision of health workers, maternal mortality rates nearly triple.[2] Première Urgence Internationale continues to promote safe and institutional deliveries along with the organization’s proven commitment to improve its supported healthcare centers across Lebanon.

Rania is one of the beneficiaries from the ‘Birth Cash Assistance’ (BCA) program in Lebanon. Rania is a 19-year-old Syrian refugee who lives in Berkayel village in Akkar, North Lebanon. She has been married for three years and is the mother of one child. She is currently pregnant with her second child. Rania was recently diagnosed with a low-lying placenta, a condition also known as ‘placenta previa’. This is a serious medical condition occurring when the placenta abnormally lies in the lower part of the uterine segment. It’s a known cause of maternal morbidity. It is also a cause of maternal mortality because of its association with a higher risk of post-partum haemorrhage.

Supporting birth expenses

Sarah is a Première Urgence midwife working in the ‘Birth Cash Assistance’ program (BCA). She met Rania through a home visit after being referred by the organization’s protection team. Rania was, back then, in the final stage of her third trimester of pregnancy. Sarah provided Rania with counselling and informational sessions on different topics. These include prenatal care, malnutrition prevention, birthing complications, family planning, post-natal care and breastfeeding.

When I met Rania, she was anxious about the hospital’s birth expenses. Her mode of delivery (vaginal delivery versus C-section) wasn’t clear. This was due to the underlying placenta condition.”  Sarah, the midwife, continued: “I explained to Rania the advantages of giving birth in the presence of a skilled birth attendant, specifically in the hospital. The value of which lies in being resourced by a well-equipped safe place. Also to be surrounded by specialists whose role is to take care of her and her baby”. Janine added: “Finally, I thoroughly explained the BCA voucher and how it aids in supporting her birthing expenses. Rania was then relieved and accepted our service offer.”

Sarah now accompanies Rania during her various medical consultations. She makes sure Rania regularly attends one of Première Urgence’s supported primary health care centres. This is in order to benefit from subsidized medical consultations prior to her due date. In addition, given her socioeconomic vulnerability status, Rania has been referred to the Première Urgence protection department. The goal being to receive emergency cash assistance.

Our response in lebanon

The program in which Rania was involved, is an integrated reproductive health and gender-based violence (GBV) response implemented by both Première Urgence and INTERSOS.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada it supports more than seven thousand vulnerable individuals in the areas of Tripoli and Akkar. With this program, Première Urgence Internationale aims to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services through an integrated approach for women, girls, men and boys. One of the main activities of midwives in this program is promoting SRH/education counseling, consultations, in addition to the identification of any person at risk (including GBV).

Furthermore, Première Urgence financially supports pregnant women through birth cash assistance, securing them a safe and institutional delivery at the hospital, thereby minimizing health risks to the mother and newborn, and lowering the risk of maternal mortality. The program also aims to bridge the gap between the primary and the secondary healthcare systems to ensure the sustainable access to healthcare through an effective referral mechanism.

Find out more about our activities in Lebanon by clicking here 

[1] Names were modified to protect the identity and dignity of the beneficiaries

[2] UNICEF Lebanon (2022). The consequences of the failing health system has immediate and longer-term impacts on children. Available at:

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