Wednesday, May 29, 2024

“A healthy pregnancy in Gaza is no longer feasible”: UNFPA

Dr. Mohamed Ragab attends to Haneen, who is eight months pregnant. The obstetrician and gynaecologist has set up his practice in a displacement camp in Rafah, in southern Gaza, where he receives up to 70 women every day. © UNFPA Palestine/Bisan Ouda

The UN Population Fund says a healthy pregnancy in Gaza is no longer feasible.

“155,000 pregnant women and new mothers there are living with unimaginable stress,” the agency says in a post on Instagram.

More than 30,000 women have given birth since the Israeli government declared genocidal war on Gaza six months ago. Many of those women and babies have not survived.

“They face the fear of death not only from air strikes, but from pregnancy or birth complications as life-saving maternal services have all but collapsed. Now, six months into the war, they also face famine,” it says.

“Pregnant women need a ceasefire now and unfettered access for aid so they can receive the food, health care, safety and security that they urgently need,” UNFP added.

“It takes me four or five days to find enough food for what would have been equivalent to one meal before this war,”Malak, 22, described her struggle to find enough food shortly before she gave birth.

“We are not seeing any normal sized babies in Gaza,” said Dominic Allen, Palestine Representative for UNFPA-the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Malnourished mothers means more underweight babies.

Islamic Relief Worldwide, an aid group, has characterized the catalog of difficulties and indignities pregnant women in Gaza are facing as “like a hundred years ago.” In addition to the stress of constant bombardment, they are enduring cesarean sections without pain relief. They have no access to scans or checkups, no safe way to travel to hospitals or medical centers, most of which are no longer functional. Many are being forced to give birth on the floors of hospitals, in tents, in public restrooms.

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