Caring for Newborns in a West Bank Bedouin Community

January 3, 2013 ANERA
Health, In-Kind Medical and Relief, Mother and Child, West Bank
An elderly Palestinian man holds his infant grandchild in a hospital. Qutaiba's proud grandfather in Al-Rashaydeh village.

After 15 hours of labor, 23-year-old Hala Rashaydeh finally gave birth to a baby boy, named Qutaiba. The new mother comes from a Bedouin community in Al-Rashaydeh village, several kilometers from Bethlehem.

To welcome Qutaiba into this world, his mother received a colorful high-quality baby layette kit from UMCOR. ANERA delivered the gift to Hala at the hospital. The kit was part of a large UMCOR donation to charitable hospitals and clinics across the West Bank.

ANERA regularly coordinates with donors like UMCOR to deliver much needed medicines and humanitarian supplies to Palestinian communities across the West Bank and Gaza.

In a hospital that delivers up to 14 babies a day, these birthing kits are a welcome gift.

“We don’t usually receive such nice and important donations in our village,” smiled Hala. “They’re rare and it feels good to get one.”

Hala is a university graduate with a degree in social studies education and dreams of becoming a full time teacher in Al-Rashaydeh, where there are only two schools. But she is unemployed and her husband is still finishing his college studies in Arabic language. “My husband takes any work opportunity he finds, but it’s usually not enough. We are always in debt,” explained Hala.

A Palestinian nurse in the West Bank stands in front of a special birthing kit.

Nurse Na’ila is thankful for the new birthing kits.

Born into an impoverished community, Qutaiba only had a few pieces of clothing, barely enough to keep him warm. “We only bought him a few things with a very small budget, so this kit came at a very good time. I thank ANERA and UMCOR from the bottom of my heart and hope they will keep on donating.”

In Hebron, Na’ila Abu-Asab, a certified nurse-midwife, has been delivering babies for 20 years.The hospital delivers an average of 14 babies a day and is always running short of supplies. A recent donation of birthing kits from ANERA and UMCOR was especially welcome.

“The birthing kits are excellent!” said Na’ila. “Especially for emergency deliveries in remote areas, because it has everything you would need to bring a baby into this world.”

“The best things about this kit are the receiving blankets. The first one we used to clean off the baby directly after he or she is born. The second one keeps the baby warm as they are handed to their mother,” explained Na’ila. “Our blankets here in the hospital are of a lesser quality and many are worn-out from multiple uses and washings. This is a wonderful gift to the delivery ward. And such wonderful colors, I might add! We all appreciate it.”

In addition to the receiving blankets, the kit also includes plastic sheeting that goes underneath the mother during the delivery, a pair of rubber gloves, a razor blade, cotton string, and a bar of soap.

Dr. Amjad Mujahed, general manager of the hospital, said the birthing kits have been a great help to the maternity ward. “It is impossible for us to perform even the biggest of operations without something as simple as cotton string. How can one work without gauze or bandages to cover wounds? These seemingly trivial items have a great impact on the health of our patients, or in this case the babies being delivered,” added Dr. Mujahed.

Leave a Reply