The situation in Gaza is dire, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that the region is on the “precipice of major disease outbreaks.” Of the 36 hospitals in Gaza, 22 are out of action, leaving 800,000 people crammed into overcrowded schools and other “collective centers.” Skin infections, including scabies, jaundice, and diarrhea, are already being reported.
The WHO is working with authorities to trace the parents of 31 premature babies evacuated from al-Shifa hospital and taken to southern Gaza. Many of the babies are very low in weight and all have serious infections. Richard Brennan, the regional emergency director for the WHO, said that the next few weeks will be “very tough indeed” as many families are subsisting on one meal a day.
In addition to chest infections and respiratory infections, cases of jaundice have raised concerns about hepatitis. Mr. Brennan described it as “one of the few good news stories of the war so far,” but added that they don’t know where any of the parents are or how many of them are orphans. Many are very low in weight and all have serious infections, with 11 being classified as critical condition.
The situation is dire and immediate action is needed to prevent a major disease outbreak in Gaza. The WHO is working closely with local authorities to ensure that proper sanitation measures are implemented and that adequate medical care is provided to those who need it most.