Your Title

KUALA LUMPUR: Miscarriages are increasing among pregnant women in Gaza due to stress and lack of food, ActionAid International said.

ActionAid International, an international non-governmental organisation working for a world free from poverty and injustice, said doctors in one of the only functioning maternity wards left in Gaza revealed that they are seeing rising cases of miscarriages.

It said the staff at Al-Awda Hospital in Nuseirat, the only hospital currently providing maternity services such as delivery and C-sections in central Gaza, said that pregnant women are increasingly presenting at the hospital with heavy bleeding and other complications.

“The lack of food and the stress of constant danger and displacement are taking a heavy toll on pregnant women,” it said in a statement.

Dr. Raed Al Saudi, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the hospital, which is run by Al-Awda, ActionAid’s partner in Gaza, said they are currently delivering between 40 and 50 babies per day, despite having just 35 beds.

“A miscarriage can happen for several reasons; some of which are exhaustion of the pregnant woman due to displacement, (and) malnutrition is one of the main reasons.

“We have cases of women coming from their homes with excessive bleeding. Cases of abruptio placentae or placenta previa, or postpartum bleeding. This obviously poses a great risk on the patient,” Dr Al Saudi said in a video sent to ActionAid International.

Meanwhile, Head of Inpatient and Maternity Department at the hospital, Dr Yasmine, said staff members had seen many cases of women losing their unborn babies.

“There are many women who lost their (unborn babies) as a result of direct exposure to bombing. A woman is pregnant and has an injury. On the second day or on the same day, she has bleeding. She is delivered to the operating department. These things happen a lot here,” she said.

Dr Yasmine also mentioned lack of sufficient food – 95 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women in Gaza face severe food poverty, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Meanwhile, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine, Riham Jafari, said that pregnant women in Gaza are not only experiencing the constant stress and trauma of living in a war zone, but they also have hardly anything to eat.

“It is heartbreaking but hardly surprising that the number of miscarriages is rising, considering the atrocious conditions pregnant women in Gaza are being forced to endure.

“What they, and everyone else in Gaza, urgently need is a permanent and immediate ceasefire,” she said.