The World Health Organization has said that nearly two-thirds of health clinics across Gaza are not functioning, meaning the vast majority of pregnant women and mothers will have little or no access to emergency obstetric care.
ActionAid UK has meanwhile warned that, due to a lack of food, pregnant and breastfeeding women are struggling to produce the milk they need to feed their babies and keep them alive. Mothers have also reported being unable to access water.
One pregnant woman in Gaza, called Salma, told the British charity: “There is not enough water for drinking, washing, or anything. There is not enough food, no health services, no water, and no electricity. The simplest requirements of life are not available here.
“As a pregnant woman, I fear for [my unborn child], as I am in my [final] month [of pregnancy]. There is not enough food or water for me and the baby.”
Dr Nasser Fouad Bulbul, head of the premature and neonatal care departments at Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest health facility in Gaza, said his team had recently performed a premature delivery of a baby “from the mother’s womb while she was dying”.
“We don’t know the fate of their relatives or have information about their identities,” he said, in comments shared by the UNFPA on Monday.