Gaza crisis: Maternal healthcare

A new-born baby at Al Awda hospital in Gaza

The UN estimates that nearly 46,000 women in Gaza are pregnant, 10,000 of whom were displaced at some point during the recent violence.

Around 160 deliveries take place each day, according to the Ministry of Health. Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, has reported a 15 to 20% increase in premature births, as a result of the stress caused by the bombardments.

During the conflict, many women were not able to travel to a hospital so had to give birth in shelters, without sanitation, and no vaccines for the child.

These are some of the mothers and new-borns we've met...

The newborn

This 30-minutes-old baby (pictured above) was delivered in the Al Awda hospital in Gaza city during the eighth day of the current conflict. Specialising in maternity care the hospital supports the residents of the neighbouring Jabalaya refugee camp, one of the poorest areas of Gaza city. The director of the hospital Dr Yousef Soueti commented that: "We have seen an increase of women coming in with bleeding during pregnancy. In some cases they are coming here so that we will keep them for 24 hours as it is safer than being at home."

The nurse

© CARE / Alison Baskerville

Staff nurse Arenda checks over two week old baby in the PMRS medical centre in Jabalaya. "My daughter is scared when I leave to come to the clinic to work. So many families have been killed in this area. But I have to keep coming, its all I can do to help."

The mother of three

© CARE / Alison Baskerville

Mother Amal holds her one-hour-old baby, born on the morning of the sixth day of the conflict. “She is my third child and I am so happy to have made it to the hospital safely.”

The new father and his baby

© CARE / Alison Baskerville

New father Omar holds his one day-old daughter in his arms. This is his first child. She was delivered as the family evacuated their home in the Bet Lahiya district of Gaza city. Once they are well enough they will have to join some of the thousands of families still living in UN schools across the city. UNRWA estimate that there are currently 102,788 displaced people across the strip.

The expectant mother

© CARE / Alison Baskerville

"We must have many children here, because we lose so many in the wars," reflects Mariam (39), mother of eight who is now expecting her ninth child.

The new mother

© CARE / Alison Baskerville

New mother, Anwar, holds the hand of her two-week-old baby daughter as she is checked over in a health clinic near the Jabalaya refugee camp in Gaza.

CARE's picture

News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.