Since March 2018, the health system in Gaza has been undermined by the confrontations that have erupted in the area. Locally, stakeholders are working to provide the support required to care for casualties throughout their recovery period. But facing the influx of severely injured patients, healthcare structures are struggling to meet the demand. The range and quality of patient-care services are continually deteriorating.
Mothers and newborn babies are severely affected by this deterioration of healthcare conditions. They leave hospital prematurely after birth and do not always receive neonatal follow-up. Under these conditions, neonatal mortality is an ongoing problem and currently represents two thirds of infant deaths in Gaza.
Keeping women and children alive
With the aim of bolstering maternal and neonatal healthcare in the Khan Younès region, France and UNICEF signed a partnership agreement on 14 April 2019. Amounting to €1 million, financed by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and AFD, this agreement will provide the NGO with the resources required to keep young mothers and newborn babies healthy. It will also help UNICEF to continue its work on the links between emergency responses and development.
The project will improve access to essential maternal and infant health services (nutrition, detecting growth delays, etc.) for 35,800 pregnant and breastfeeding women and children in several maternity wards and primary care clinics. This is the first step before the launch of a larger-scale initiative which may be finalized in 2019. The ultimate goal is to give a new lease of life to maternal and neonatal healthcare in the Gaza Strip.