Famine and disease rule the lives of Palestinians in Gaza
In Gaza, starvation is taking its toll among 75% of the population. Malnutrition seems to be a factor across the entire population including health and medical care providers.
Health care providers say they have seen clear evidence of epidemic-level acute hepatitis A; respiratory infections including influenza, RSV, COVID-19, mycoplasma pneumoniae bacterial infections, asthma, bronchitis and various other virus and bacterial pneumonia cases; cholera; diphtheriae; smallpox; diseases evolving from streptococcus and sepsis infections spreading, like meningitis, bacterial endocarditis, peritonitis; and especially among children, jaundice, scabies, lice, severe foot infections and chickenpox have been reported.
“Bad coughs, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea are the most common complaints at clinics and in the hospitals,” explains Behar Abbasi who leads a health care team in Gaza specialized in women’s health services. Photo submitted by Behar Abbasi.Art, cropping, enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective-Magazine
This injured child is very weak from malnutrition says the doctor.
In a statement released after a recent visit to Gaza, the World Health organization said, “Malnutrition increases the risk of children dying from illnesses like diarrhea, pneumonia and measles, especially in a setting where they lack access to life-saving health services.”
“That sums it up,” notes Yemen doctor Behar Abbasi who added that hunger and undernourishment diminishes the body’s ability to fight infection.
“Most patients are presenting with multiple infections including sepsis which is opening pathways to organ failure and other catastrophic events.”
Midwives and nurses in Gaza travel to their next patient by bicycle. Photo submitted by Behar Abbasi.Art, cropping, enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective-Magazine
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza says it has recorded hundreds of cases of miscarriage and premature birth, as a result of stress, panic and forced displacement under Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip.
RINJ Women in Gaza confirm this is true. Nurse Ai’sha elaborates saying “life without a home, trying to stay alive with pregnancy, hunger and disease, are causing the high percentage of miscarriages, and they are complicated because not all tissue is released in the process and a dilation of the cervix and surgical removal of part of the lining of the uterus and/or contents of the uterus is required. This indicates the necessity for a sterile environment in order to perform an outpatient type surgery by scraping and scooping in a gynecologic procedure used for therapeutic purposes usually in first-trimester miscarriages.
A spokesperson for the department, Ashraf al-Qudra, told reporters on Thursday that “the lack of health care in places of displacement and the difficulty of reaching hospitals exposes the lives of about 60,000 pregnant women to the risk of pregnancy complications.”
Yemen Doctor Abbasi suggests that this is not the case as “many of these pregnant women have died due to the bombing and the stress of concurrent, hunger, disease, lack of protection from the elements, and lack of adequate health care during their pregnancy since 7 October 2o23.”
Speaking in front of Tal Al-Sultan Maternity Hospital in Rafah, in southern Gaza, Palestinian health official al-Qudra said that during the past 24 hours, the Israeli occupation “committed 15 massacres against families in the Gaza Strip, killing 172 people and wounding 326 others”.
More uncounted victims are still trapped under the rubble, said Mr. al-Qudra, “and on the roads, but ambulance and civil defense crews cannot reach them.”