Tackling the Menstrual Health Crisis in Gaza: Impact, Dangers, and Urgent Need for Support

2023-11-12 03:52:51

The severe water shortage in Gaza doubles the suffering of women in the absence of menstrual hygiene products, which threatens serious physical and psychological health complications in the long term, especially for girls at an early age.

The organization says:Human Rights Watch“Families in the Strip are rationing water because Israel has cut off water and electricity supplies to civilians, and according to the United Nations, only a small portion of the water provided by Israel reaches, and only to southern Gaza. People get about three liters of water per day, while it recommends” World Health Organization” between 50 to 100 litres.

A report was quoted by the International Planned Parenthood Federation.IPPF“Women, especially girls, suffer due to severe shortages of menstrual hygiene products, urinary tract infections as well as sexually transmitted diseases with little medical treatment available in severely overcrowded shelters.

Menstrual disorders

Wafa Abu Hashish, a health worker in Gaza, told the report’s authors that some girls and women reported menstrual disorders.

A report from the network stated:CNN“Hundreds of thousands of women in Gaza are facing a desperate health crisis, since the complete Israeli siege of the Strip led to a reduction in menstrual supplies, as well as basic necessities such as drinking water and food.

Bashir, 32, told the American network, “Women need sanitary products, sanitary towels, and painkillers.”

Bashir, whose first name the network only mentioned, added, “Most pharmacies have stopped working. Even the pills that women use to stop menstruation are no longer sufficient.”

She added, “We are starting to go back to ancient times, where women used pieces of cloth during their menstrual cycle. A woman cannot experience her menstrual cycle in this situation.”

Amal, a resident who was displaced to Khan Yunis, told the network that she had heard about many women using birth control pills to either stop or reduce blood flow during menstruation. She added that those who do not do so use “old methods and washed clothes.”

Rots and infections

The network’s report notes that conditions like these can cause the spread of diseases, as a lack of clean and safe toilets, and reduced access to running water and privacy can lead to the spread of infections, including Thrush And “hepatitis B” andToxic shock syndromeseveral aid workers told the network.

Human Rights Watch warned that the inability of women and girls to obtain water and menstrual hygiene equipment may lead to serious infections, including hepatitis B andFungal infection (vaginal).

Women and girls in shelters face particular difficulty accessing supplies and facilities, and a lack of awareness about menstrual health, especially among men and boys, may exacerbate the difficulties they face, according to the organization.

Greater psychological impact on girls

Dr. Al-Tayeb Hamdi, a researcher in health policies and systems, says that during menstruation, women, especially girls, need other supplies, in addition to sanitary pads, such as clean water, clean underwear, and health centers to which they can be transferred if they experience severe menstrual symptoms, all of which are not available. in Gaza.

In an interview with Al-Hurra website, Hudhi points out that “failing to change sanitary pads every four hours leads to infection, rot, and bacteria that are transmitted to the girl’s reproductive system or urinary system, which leads to other infections or serious complications.”

Al-Hadhi says that the impact is greater on girls, because they do not know how to behave during their menstrual cycle, and the psychological impact is greater in light of the lack of privacy in the current conditions in Gaza.

Regarding some women resorting to birth control pills to delay their menstrual cycle, Hudhi believes that this may not pose major health problems for women, but it may be harmful to girls because “the reproductive system is in the process of being built.”

In late October, UN Women expressed its deep concern for the lives of women and girls with the continued escalation in the Gaza Strip and Israel, considering what was happening a “deep crisis” that the region had not witnessed for decades.

In an interview with the United Nations website, the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations, Sarah Hendricks, pointed to the “disproportionate impact” of the conflict on women and girls, stressing the importance of recognizing and identifying “the special and pressing needs and vulnerabilities of women and addressing them.”

She stressed the need to support women and girls to access safe shelter, protection, and maternal health care, stressing that basic needs, including water, sanitation, food, and fuel, are extremely important for the survival and well-being of women and girls. She also renewed the call for the immediate release of all hostages.

In light of the “deep crisis”… a UN warning regarding women and girls in Gaza

UN Women expressed its deep concern for the lives of women and girls as the escalation continues in the Gaza Strip and Israel, considering what is happening a “deep crisis” that the region has not witnessed for decades.

Israel is intensively bombing the besieged Gaza Strip, and since November 27, its forces have launched a ground operation in its north, and violent clashes have been taking place for days between the Israeli army and Hamas in the heart of Gaza, according to army statements. From the first day of the war, Israel pledged to “crush” Hamas.

The Israeli operation comes in response to the bloody Hamas attack on Israeli territory on October 7. Since the attack was carried out, at least 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, according to an updated toll by the Israeli authorities, most of them civilians who were killed on the first day of the unprecedented Hamas attack since the establishment of the Hebrew state in 1948. Also, 239 people, both Israelis and foreigners, were kidnapped and transported into Gaza.

In the Gaza Strip, more than 11,078 people were killed, including more than 4,506 children, according to the latest statistics from the Hamas government’s Ministry of Health.

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