Gaza, 12 November 2023 (TDI): The ongoing conflicts in Gaza have placed approximately 50,000 pregnant women in dire situations. Each day, more than 180 women grapple with the complexities of childbirth, while thousands more are expected to join them in the coming weeks.
The well-being of these expectant mothers and their newborns is intricately tied to their access to essential resources such as food, water, medications, fuel, and obstetric care.
Before the recent escalation, pregnant women could attend health check-ups, receive nutritional guidance, and prepare for childbirth.
However, the current reality forces them into shelters where resources like food and clean water are insufficient, instilling fear of giving birth without proper medical support.
Yasmine Ahmed, a midwife at Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, highlighted the catastrophic working conditions, including a severe shortage of water.
The healthcare system in Gaza is on the brink, with shortages of fuel, medicine, and supplies. Attacks on healthcare infrastructure have led to the closure of over one-third of hospitals and nearly two-thirds of health clinics.
Dr. Nasser Fouad Bulbul from Al-Shifa Hospital noted a rise in premature births due to bombings, emphasizing the challenges of performing deliveries amid the crisis. Gaza, home to 50,000 pregnant women, faces a near-total humanitarian disaster, with many infants becoming orphans.
Displaced and endangered, pregnant women like Sondos undergo surgeries and emergency C-sections in makeshift maternity wards. The lack of anesthesia and basic supplies poses severe risks to both mothers and infants.
Electricity outages make the dire situation worse and jeopardize the functionality of medical facilities.
The UNFPA provides crucial reproductive health supplies to Gaza, including medicine and kits for safe births. However, challenges persist, with overcrowded centers lacking proper hygiene and the risks of gender-based violence rising.
Nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced, living in unsafe shelters with limited access to food and water.
Pregnant women experience growing uncertainty about where to give birth as a result of communication problems and hospital equipment shortages.
The overarching need for comprehensive support and intervention is evident, highlighting the urgent requirement to address the multifaceted crises faced by pregnant women in Gaza.