Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Main maternity hospital in Rafah stops admitting patients

The main maternity hospital in the Gaza Strip’s crowded southern city of Rafah has stopped admitting patients, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) told Reuters on Wednesday (May 8).

The UNFPA told Reuters that the hospital, Emirati Maternity Hospital, had been handling some 85 out of a daily total of 180 births in Gaza prior to an escalation of fighting between Hamas and Israeli troops on Rafah’s outskirts.

Around half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been crowded into Rafah after fleeing other parts of the enclave during seven months of war.

Emirati Hospital has only five delivery beds. But following the mass influx of people into Rafah that began in December due to Israeli airstrikes and fighting further north, the hospital became the main place for women to give birth in Rafah, Dominic Allen, the UNFPA’s top official for the occupied Palestinian territories, said in an interview with Reuters last month.

Other hospitals in the city, like Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital, have for months been admitting war wounded and directing women in labour to Emirati.

It was not immediately clear where women in Rafah trying to deliver in a hospital would be able to do so. “Humanitarian partners, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, have set up alternative health facilities that can provide different levels of care”, the UNFPA statement to Reuters read.