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The extremely high number and severe nature of casualties during the recent military assaults on Gaza have further stretched an already overburdened health care system and challenged its coping capacity. Three weeks after the start of military operations, the Ministry of Health declared that 50 percent of all medical equipment was not functioning, and the rest was likely to break down if the current demand continued (2) (refer to the executive summary).
The impact of the crisis on women was significant: More than 250 women were killed, including at least 16 pregnant women. Due to damage to six hospitals and extremely unsafe operations in some Gaza Strip locations, six maternities were closed (3). Furthermore, the high number of wounded patients overloaded hospitals and made it necessary to transform part or all of maternity wards into surgical care units. This resulted in reduced care for women in need for emergency obstetric care, including surgical interventions, and reduced post-operative care, as women were immediately discharged after giving birth.