Refugees are some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Yet too often they face barriers which make them unable to access healthcare. In Colombia, Tearfund is working with healthcare providers to make sure pregnant refugee women get all the support they need.
Many of these women are refugees from Venezuela. With few jobs, food shortages and soaring living costs because of the ongoing political and economic crisis, they feel they have no choice but to flee to another country.
‘We couldn’t find anything,’ says Genesis. ‘Everything was bad.’ Like so many others, she was desperate to provide a better life for her family.
Undernourished and under supported
Genesis is one of the mothers supported by Tearfund. We have been partnering with a local charity, Profamilia, to enable refugee women to receive prenatal care, including ultrasounds. The mothers are given newborn kits, which contain nappies, soap and other essentials to help new babies thrive. Training is also on hand to help the new mums adapt to motherhood and help them to keep their babies healthy.
Before accessing this care, Genesis had been turned away from several other doctors. ‘Thank God for the support you have given me… I had been walking and walking, asking around but the doctors did not want to see me.
‘Now that I’ve had my first check-up I feel good, I feel safer because they are taking care of me. They are monitoring me and my baby. I feel good because everything is well, thank God.’
Deysi is another mother that Tearfund is supporting through Profamilia. ‘I’m grateful… now that I am receiving prenatal care. I feel very calm because I know that my baby is fine, thanks to God.’
Breaking down barriers
This support is vital to both the baby’s and the mother's health. Many of the women Tearfund is helping are far along into their pregnancies, have never had an ultrasound or heard their baby’s heartbeat, and are also suffering from malnutrition.
They have been reluctant to seek help because of the cost of getting this support, and this has only increased during the pandemic, as many of these families have been pushed further into poverty. These women often cannot afford the cost to travel to the doctors, let alone pay for the prenatal check ups they need.
The consequences of refugees not having access to healthcare puts the mother’s and baby’s health at risk, and can even lead to their tragic deaths. Tearfund is working hard to turn this around. By increasing access to healthcare for these women, we can help them to give their babies the best start in life.
God of new life,
We thank you that every child is a gift from you. We pray for your favour and blessing over these women and their babies – may they be protected and flourish.
We thank you for the partnership Tearfund has with Profamillia. We pray for your love to pour out over the staff who work there – may you grant them wisdom as they serve women in need.
We thank you that nothing is outside of your control. We pray that you will remove barriers that stop refugees from accessing healthcare – may you sway leaders to create policies that put vulnerable people first.
In Jesus’ name, amen.