Since the uprising in Syria in March 2011, over 4.3 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. Over a million have sought refuge in Lebanon, constituting almost a quarter of the Lebanese population and becoming the largest refugee population per capita in the world.
With inequitable health coverage being a longstanding problem in Lebanon, Syrian refugee women’s health, and specifically their sexual and reproductive health, is disproportionately affected. An increase in gender-based violence and early marriage, a lack of access to emergency obstetric care, limited access to contraception, forced cesarean sections, and high cost of healthcare services, all contribute to poor sexual and reproductive health.
In this commentary, we conceptualize violence against Syrian refugee women using the ecological model, exploring the intersections of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, while critiquing interventions that focus solely on the intrapersonal level and ignore the role of microsystemic, exosystemic, and macrosystemic factors of negative influence. These social determinants of health supersede the individual realm of health behavior, and hinder women in taking decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
Also available online (open access) http://www.rhm-elsevier.com/article/S0968-8080(16)30008-8/fulltext