Time to address the reproductive health of displaced Iraqi women

Addressing barriers and challenges affecting service provision, Ibrahim told Amwaj.media, “Although the Jiyan Foundation works closely with beneficiaries to provide displaced women and girls with reproductive health services, such as treatment for postpartum depression, anxiety, and possibly medication for pains or related conditions, there are a number of barriers and challenges hindering access to reproductive services, including stigma and taboo.” She elaborated, “For example, some of the displaced women and girls we work with feel ashamed when they get pregnant. They will speak of themselves as being sick when they are pregnant. Some also speak of pregnancy as though it is an illness.” Ibrahim emphasized that combating stigma and taboo will require educational interventions, including workshops, personalized therapy sessions, and ongoing community engagement. 

Recounting some of the women’s experiences, Ibrahim said people in some areas access traditional healers, obtaining harmful advice and nutrition instead of visiting primary healthcare clinics, pointing to displaced Yazidis who once lived in villages in northern Iraq captured by IS. The advice provided by traditional healers has a direct impact on the health of displaced women and girls whose “lives and mental health are at risk,” Ibrahim asserted, adding, “Given these circumstances, educational interventions will be crucial.”