The infant mortality rate in Gaza has risen for the first time in five decades, according to an UNRWA study, and UNRWA’s Health Director says the blockade may be contributing to the trend.
Every five years, UNRWA conducts a survey of infant mortality across the region, and the 2013 results were released this week.
The number of babies dying before the age of one has consistently gone down over the last decades in Gaza, from 127 per 1,000 live births in 1960 to 20.2 in 2008. At the last count, in 2013, it had risen to 22.4 per 1,000 live births.
The rate of neonatal mortality, which is the number of babies that die before four weeks old, has also gone up significantly in Gaza, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.
“Infant mortality is one of the best indicators for the health of the community,” said Dr. Akihiro Seita, Director of UNRWA’s health program. “It reflects on the mother and child’s health and in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals it is one of the key indicators.”
“It is hard to know the exact causes behind the increase in both neonatal and infant mortality rates, but I fear it is part of a wider trend. We are very concerned about the impact of the long-term blockade on health facilities, supplies of medicines and bringing equipment in to Gaza,” Dr. Seita said.
Here are the facts:
- Israel does not limit medicine to Gaza.
- Israel does not block any medical equipment to Gaza.
- Gunness cannot point to a single Gaza child who died due to lack of medicine or equipment because of Israeli limits on items into Gaza.
- There is lots of evidence that Hamas steals medicine meant to be distributed to Gazans for free.
- Disagreements between Hamas and the PA has led to shortages of medical suppliesbeing sent to Gaza.
- When Hamas took power in Gaza it attacked doctors and health care workers who protested hospitals being taken over by the terrorist group.
- Hamas has banned doctors from traveling from Gaza to medical conferences.
All of these facts can contribute to Gaza’s infant mortality rate since UNRWA’s last survey. But you wouldn’t know any of them from Chris Gunness, who will never condemn Hamas if he can avoid it.
Chris Gunness is issuing anti-Israel propaganda – and covering up Hamas crimes.
So far the only news outlets I’ve seen that published this are IMEMC – which published it in Gunness’ name – and the Daily Star Lebanon
Interestingly, UNRWA does not include this in its own press release section.