File - A Syrian refugee woman sits with her children in Hamra, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Increasingly desperate economic conditions, high rates of teen marriage and the prevalence of cesarean section deliveries are driving a disturbing trend of deaths in pregnancy and childbirth among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Rates of maternal mortality are considerably higher among Syrian refugees than among Lebanese women, and they may be rising.According to Health Ministry statistics from 2017, with 69,330 live births reported among Lebanese women, there were six reported maternal deaths as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.Among non-Lebanese women, nearly all of them Syrian (Palestinian women are tracked separately), there were 55,267 births and 15 reported deaths.That translates to a maternal death rate among Syrians of 27 per 100,000 births compared to nine per 100,000 births for Lebanese women.In 2015, the ministry reported 71,310 live births and 10 deaths among Lebanese women, a rate of 14 per 100,000 . Among non-Lebanese, there were a reported 39,106 births and five maternal deaths, or 13 per 100,000 .Of about 3,200 deliveries at the NGO's south Beirut birthing center last year, 440 were mothers under the age of 18, making up 14 percent of all deliveries.
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