‘Complex medical equipment purposefully broken in Gaza hospitals’

The World Health Organization has described the difficulty of bringing such equipment into Gaza even before the current war erupted following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack inside Israel…reports Asian Lite News

The UN has decried the intentional destruction of complex and hard-to-obtain medical equipment in Gaza’s beleaguered hospitals and maternity wards, further deepening risks to women already giving birth in “inhumane, unimaginable conditions.”

Recent UN-led missions to 10 Gaza hospitals found many “in ruins” and just a couple capable of providing any level of maternal health services, said Dominic Allen, the UN Population Fund or UNFPA representative for the state of Palestine.

He said that what the teams found at the Nasser Hospital complex, long besieged by Israeli forces during their operations in the southern city of Khan Younis, “breaks my heart.”

Speaking to journalists in Geneva via video link from Jerusalem, he described seeing “medical equipment purposefully broken, ultrasounds — which you will know, is a very important tool for helping ensure safe births — with cables that have been cut.”

Palestinian forensic experts inspect the body of a dead person uncovered in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 17, 2024 after the recent Israeli military operation there amid the ongoing fighting in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (AFP)

“Screens of complex medical equipment, like ultrasounds and others with the screens smashed,” he added.

The World Health Organization has described the difficulty of bringing such equipment into Gaza even before the current war erupted following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack inside Israel.

Allen warned that this “purposeful, wanton destruction in the maternity ward,” coupled with other damage and lacking water, sanitation, and electricity, was complicating efforts to get what was previously the second-most important hospital in the Palestinian territory up and running again “to provide a lifeline.”

Meanwhile, at Al-Khair, another specialized maternity hospital in Khan Younis, “it didn’t seem as if there was any piece of working medical equipment,” he said, lamenting that the birthing rooms “stand silent.”

“They should be places that give life, but they just have an eerie sense of death.”

Only 10 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are currently even partially functioning.

And Allen said that only three of those were now capable of assisting the estimated 180 women giving birth across Gaza every single day — around 15 percent of whom suffer complications requiring significant care.

The hospitals that can provide such care are thus facing significant capacity constraints.

The Emirati Hospital in the south, the main maternity hospital in Gaza currently, is, for instance, supporting up to 60 births every day, including as many as 12 Caesarian sections, he said.

Given the heavy pressure on the facility, women are discharged just hours after giving birth, “and after C-sections, it is less than a day,” Allen said, stressing “that increases risks.”

He said there was a risk in the number of complicated procedures linked to “malnutrition, dehydration, and fear, which impact the pregnant woman’s ability to give birth safely and carry their baby to full term safely.”

Amid a “completely crippled” health system in Gaza, the UNFPA is “deeply concerned about the ability to provide postnatal care,” he said.

He said the agency was deploying midwives and midwifery kits to makeshift school centers to help fill the gap.

The current war started after Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on Oct. 7.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 34,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children. according to the territory’s Health Ministry.

14 killed in Israel’s operation on refugee camp in West Bank

Amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, at least 14 people have been killed during the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) operation at the Nur al-Shams refugee camp in the West Bank, CNN reported, citing the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that they have found a number of bodies and injured people from the camp, as the IDF has partially withdrawn from the area.

Videos captured by residents show a bulldozer destroying a building as IDF vehicles leave the camp after conducting a raid for over 24 hours. Other videos showcase ambulances entering the camp after the IDF withdraws from there.

According to residents, Israeli forces have left the immediate area. However, they continue to remain present in the nearby city of Tulkarm.

Earlier on Saturday, the IDF said its forces killed 10 ‘terrorists’ and arrested eight wanted suspects during the operation that began on Thursday.

According to Palestinian health ministry and news agency Wafa, at least one child and one teenager are among those killed. It said that the IDF has arrested young people en masse and destroyed key infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Health condemned two separate incidents involving emergency medical crews operating in the West Bank on Saturday.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, an ambulance driver was killed by Israeli settlers as he attempted to take injured Palestinians to safety, and another ambulance crew was detained and questioned by the IDF outside a hospital in the West Bank.

The ministry identified the driver as Mohammed Awad Allah Mohammed Musa (50). It said that Musa worked with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Speaking to CNN, PRCS said that settlers killed him by firing on his ambulance.

In a statement, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said, “The Ministry urgently calls on international health organisations, human rights institutions, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to urgently act to curb the escalating practices of the occupation and settlers against treatment centers and medical crews and to allow them to perform their humanitarian duty.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Health called the targeting of medics, ambulances, and medical staff a “blatant and clear violation of international humanitarian law, according to CNN report.

“The targeting of medics, ambulances, treatment centres, and medical staff, obstructing their movement, and preventing them from reaching the wounded, constitutes a blatant and clear violation of international humanitarian law and international norms and treaties,” the ministry said.

On Friday, the Israeli military said that several Palestinian gunmen were killed and four soldiers were wounded during a counter-terrorism raid in the West Bank’s Nur Shams refugee camp, close to Tulkarem, The Times of Israel reported.

The IDF said its troops and Border Police officers conducted a raid at Nur Shams overnight, during which several wanted Palestinians were detained, explosive devices were discovered, and several gunmen were killed in clashes throughout the morning. (ANI)

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