A UN official fears for the fate of new mothers and their children amid the “loss of complete humanity” in Gaza
In just a matter of weeks, some 5,500 women are due to give birth in Gaza, where doctors in overstretched hospitals are delivering babies with little or no anesthesia – sometimes by the light of mobile phones.
As the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants enters a second month, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and sister agencies continue to appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire and an increase in convoys bringing food, fuel, water and other desperately needed aid into the enclave.
Laila Baker, Regional Director for the Arab States at the sexual and reproductive health agency, said she.
Staff from UNFPA have been providing emergency health and safe delivery kits to mothers-to-be “when we can reach them”, she said.
She told UN News that pregnant Palestinian women fleeing bombardment are riddled with anxiety, but also hope and happiness, as they struggle to find qualified health professionals who can support them with a safe delivery.
“Put yourself in the shoes of that woman when the surgeon says to her ‘I have no anesthesia, I don’t even have water or soap to wash my hands, but I’m going to try and save your life,’” she said.
Speaking from Cairo, Ms. Baker outlined why a humanitarian ceasefire and stronger international response are needed now in Gaza.
She said it is an unprecedented and unparalleled brutality in the history of humanity in recent times: 2.2 million people, amongst them 50,000 pregnant women, besieged for one month. 5,500 women are going to give birth within the next few weeks. And for the 160 women who I should have said are lucky today to try and bring joy and life into this world, I fear for their lives and the lives of their children.
Over 135 health facilities have been targeted. The remaining health facilities that stay standing have very little medication, no fuel to run electricity. We’ve had caesarean sections for emergency deliveries that have been done with little or no anesthesia and on occasion only with the light from a mobile phone.
And yet, the world leaders seem paralyzed to be able to intervene on what is one of the most flagrant breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law – by besieging and constantly bombarding the Gaza Strip.
Courtesy: UN News (Posted on Nov 7, 2023)