Protecting new-born babies in Gaza: Baby Adam’s story

The 10-year blockade and closure impacts on all aspects of daily life for people in Gaza, reducing the availability of essentials such as jobs, water, electricity and healthcare. The hardship of life under blockade has particularly hit Gaza’s youngest residents.

This year, UN OCHA identified that approximately 287,000 children and babies are vulnerable as a result of the deterioration of Gaza’s health sector and restricted access to essential health and nutrition services.  New-born babies are particularly at risk. 45% of child deaths under the age of five occur within the first 28 days of life – the neonatal period.

Medical care for new-borns – particularly those in need of intensive care – is challenged by scarce medicines and supplies, and a lack of qualified health workers. Recent shortages of fuel needed to run generators at Gaza’s hospitals have further endangered the lives of 113 new-born babies in intensive care units, according to the World Health Organization.

Thanks to our supporters, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is helping to protect the lives of at-risk new-born babies in Gaza. Since 2008, MAP has been supporting life support training for doctors, nurses and midwifes working in obstetric (maternity) and neonatal units in Gaza, as well as providing the necessary medicines, disposables and equipment so that hospitals can save more babies’ lives.

Reducing morbidity and mortality for high-risk new-borns

Between April 2015 and June 2017, MAP trained 206 doctors, nurses and midwives in neonatal life support in Gaza, and supported 10 nurses to train in neonatal intensive care skills and care management at Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

MAP also trained 95 doctors, nurses and midwives in how to safely transfer babies to and from specialist neonatal care, and 11 ophthalmologists, 23 pediatricians and nurses on the early detection and prevention of retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that occurs in premature babies which, if left untreated, can lead to blindness.

Lifesaving medicines and equipment were also provided to six neonatal units in Gaza by MAP.

As a result, at least 3,600 new-born babies in Gaza have benefitted from increased medical experitise and access to life saving medicines, including baby Adam*.

Baby Adam’s story

Adam* was born 10 weeks early and weighed just 1.5 kg. He was admitted to the MAP-supported Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza in February 2017, where he was diagnosed with respiratory distress. Adam was placed on a mechanical ventilator and underwent an intensive treatment plan.

In March 2017 Adam’s condition had stabilised and he was transferred to Al Quds Neonatal Unit. The following month Adam returned to Al Shifa Hospital NICU, this time suffering from hypothermia and sepsis. He underwent blood investigations and received the necessary treatment.

By the beginning of April, thanks to the life-saving care he received at Al Shifa Hospital, baby Adam’s blood results showed significant improvement in his condition and was allowed to return home to his family.

Dr Allam: Head of Al Shifa Neonatal Intensive Care Unit said, “We are very thankful to MAP for their support and donation of such important equipment, medications and raising the capacity of neonatal team in retinopathy of prematurity, neonatal life support, and neonatal safe transfer. Without these efforts and support these lovely stories would be unlikely to be told.

Please donate today to help MAP reach more new-born babies in need.

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* Name changed to protect identity

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