Cherri, Zeinab, Gil Cuesta, Julita, Rodriguez-Llanes, Jose M., Guha-Sapir, Debarati. Early Marriage and Barriers to Contraception among Syrian Refugee Women in Lebanon: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 836



The Syrian conflict has displaced five million individuals outside their country with Lebanon hosting the largest numbers per capita. Around 24% of Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon are women of reproductive age (15–49). Yet, a better understanding of the sexual and reproductive health needs of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon is required to improve provided services. Eleven focus group discussions were conducted in four regions of Lebanon with 108 Syrian refugee women of reproductive age. Thematic analysis was used to examine the data. Interviewed women were mainly adults. They believed that, in Lebanon, they were subjected to early marriage compared to the norm in Syria due to their financial situation and uncertainty. Cost was reported as the main barrier to use contraception in Lebanon but some Syrian refugee women were not aware of free services covering sexual and reproductive health. In general, marriage, pregnancy, and family planning behavior of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon slightly differed from those in Syria pre-conflict in terms of age of marriage, conception subsequent to marriage, and contraception method. Hence, interventions to increase awareness of subsidized sexual and reproductive health services, including free contraceptives at primary health care centers, and those targeting protection from early marriage of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon are strongly recommended.

Keywords: Syria; Lebanon; refugees; refugee health; public health; war; conflict; reproductive health; barriers to healthcare; marriage; adolescents; adolescent marriage


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