women in the Gaza Strip face deplorable sanitary conditions

In the Gaza Strip, since October 7 and Israel’s response against Hamas, many hospitals have been out of use. The birth and survival of infants are threatened.


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Babies evacuated from Al-Shifa hospital to a hospital in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, November 19, 2023 (ISMAEL MOHAMAD / MAXPPP)

In Gaza, since the start of the truce on Friday November 24, hospitals have been trying to reorganize themselves, but concerns remain for pregnant women and births. There are almost no hospitals left in the north of the enclave, the sanitary conditions are deplorable and the enclave is a place where there are many births.

In front of the Unicef ​​camera, Wissam, a young mother of 24 years old, says that she had to return very quickly to the school for refugees which sheltered her after having given birth to her daughter by cesarean section under the bombs. She felt desperate, without water, without experience, without having the means to care for herself after the procedure. Wissam testifies to the loneliness in childbirth that many women in Gaza experience, according to gynecologist Abdulakim Shehada :“Many women give birth at home and others on the way to the hospital. Sometimes, if they can get a doctor on the phone, they are given instructions remotely, but most of them give birth alone.”

180 births every day, 50 000 pregnant women

In Gaza, two thirds of hospitals are now out of service and sanitary conditions are disastrous. Jonathan Crixks is director of communications for Unicef :“It is estimated that half of pregnant women in the Gaza Strip experience complications during childbirth. They need medical help and this medical help is often absent.

“Some women have to give birth in shelters, in tents and in truly deplorable sanitary conditions.”

Jonathan Crixks, communications director for Unicef

at franceinfo

“What we fear is that the number of deaths during childbirth is increasing. There is a lack of drinking water, there is a lack of food and obviously, this also has an impact on the growth of children but beyond that, it has an impact on their survival.” Even if the situation improves slightly in the South during this truce, hospitals are releasing beds 12 or 24 hours after childbirth. According to the UN, there are 180 births every day in the enclave and around 50 000 pregnant women.

Women in the Gaza Strip face deplorable health conditions: the story of Etienne Monin

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