Occupied Palestinian territory | Programme areas | Maternal and child health

Maternal and child health

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In 2011 WHO launched a pilot project in two hospitals in Khan Younis and Rafahin Gaza which aimed to reduce medical complications in childbirth.

Evidence had indicated that a trend toward over-medicalization of the birth process had led to unnecessary medical interventions, and resulted in introducing risk in low-risk situations, distracting staff’s attention from higher-risk cases.

The project sought to shift focus to the mother by promoting a midwife-led natural birth process, using natural techniques for the progress of labour and pain control. Along with patient safety, the project promotes respect for the mother by ensuring her privacy, consent and control in the birth process.

The project uses assessment checklists, upgrading of staff skills, equipping and supervision, including empowering trained midwives. Community education activities have targeted women in antenatal care and the 10 good practices for safe childbirth, such as breathing exercises for pain relief, walking and changing position during labour as well as women’s right to privacy. Supportive counselling for parents is planned during late antenatal care to strengthen knowledge and promote traditional remedies, such as herbal teas for labour management. Monitoring of some basic indicators (use of oxytocin and C-section rates) has shown enough positive results already that the Ministry of Health will upscale the project in all of its hospitals in the future.

Related link

Midwives oversee natural childbirth in the Gaza Strip: empowering mothers and encouraging safety and respect [pdf 268bk]


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