From something so basic as providing milk to children and as technical as sending medical supplies to clinics, ANERA is finding ways of responding to an expanding humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The strict measures imposed on the Gaza Strip over the past six months have only accelerated the growing health and environmental catastrophes. The Palestinian Bureau of Statistics reports that 85% of Gaza families live beneath the poverty line and cannot afford sustenance for children. Even with the challenges aid workers face, ANERA and its partners continue to provide meaningful services to an increasingly desperate population.
To combat malnutrition, ANERA continues providing fortified milk and biscuits, which it delivers to children in Gaza on a daily basis. “Delivering these products is not as easy as before,” admits Mona Abu Ramadan, manager of ANERA’s Milk for Preschoolers project. “Our shipments often are stopped at the borders, though we are hopeful we will soon secure milk products to last until mid- February.”
Gaza also is experiencing a severe shortage in children’s medicine and vaccinations. Reportedly, ten children died on the border recently because they couldn’t get through crossings to a hospital or clinic where they might have received proper treatment. Countering these devastating (and avoidable) occurrences, ANERA’s Hanan project — the result of a two year partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development — continues to provide new mothers opportunities to improve health care in Gaza.
In Gaza and the West Bank, since 2005, Hanan has focused on providing quality health and nutritional services while promoting positive household and community health behaviors to mothers and children. Speaking about the project’s success, ANERA’s Hanan field coordinator, Abed Naser Soboh says, “The clinics have developed a registrar to document women with anemia and supervise them throughout their pregnancies to ensure the health of the mothers and unborn children. This has become increasingly challenging due to the restrictions passed in the summer, which limit our access to equipment. With cooperation from nurses who received the health training in the past, though, we have been able to successfully monitor the anemia cases.”
Through its In-Kind Program, ANERA provides critical medicines, medical equipment and supplies such as antibiotics, hygiene kits, gloves, sheets, disposables, and other equipment to clinics throughout Gaza. Milk for Preschoolers, the Hanan Project and the In-Kind Program do not tell ANERA’s whole story in improving health care in Gaza, but their diversity conveys the scope of the crisis and ANERA’s commitment to addressing it. Despite the hardships that challenge Gaza and its residents, ANERA continues working to restore people’s health and dignity.