The story of the young Palestinian woman who gave birth to a baby girl on the Vulcano, the Italian “hospital ship” on a mission to rescue civilians, told by the doctors of the Francesca Rava Foundation who witnessed the birth
Eleen Italia is the name of the Palestinian baby who came into the world on the Vulcano ship moored in the Egyptian port of Al Arish, 20 km from Rafah, to provide aid to the civilian population of Gaza. «The mother is a young woman of 24 years old, in her third pregnancy, who came on board as a companion for her eldest daughter, aged only 4, who was seriously injured during the attacks – she says Maita Sartori volunteer gynecologist of the Francesca Rava Foundation —. We didn’t realize that the lady was pregnant with her, nor, much less, that she was at the end of her pregnancy, she was wearing loose clothes that covered her belly. She waited until her firstborn was out of danger to tell us, with great tranquility and delicacy, that she was about to give birth. It was an immense joy for us to assist her in I’m leaving, which was natural, and which took place in confidentiality, with assistance that was respectful of the lady’s time and wishes.” In a context of extreme urgency and suffering, this new life has become, for those who work on the ship, the very symbol of the mission (ed. which involves doctors from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Red Cross nurses and some specialists from Qatar).
Giving birth «under the bombs»
«We took care of the sacredness of life, respect for the timing of birth, the physiology of childbirth – he says Pinuccia Persico midwife of the Francesca Rava Foundation —. It is incredible how in a confusing, dramatic and dangerous context, where one normally acts quickly and urgently, it was possible to experience such an intimate and peaceful moment. Also because it was a woman with an injured daughter and her second son and husband who remained in Gaza. A mother without any certainty about the future, without a home anymore. Her story, like many others of women who have received treatment or accompanied patients on the Vulcano, bears witness the feminine generating force, capable of going beyond the horrors of war». Despite the context and conditions of malnutrition of the woman also thenatural breastfeeding
It started up without any complications. «Seeing milk flowing from the breasts of a woman who has experienced everything she has experienced nourishes hope – comments Sartori -. In a sea of suffering, this little life story tells the story of the strength of mothers who, in critical contexts, always put the good of their children before their own. And then it is also proof of the great solidarity towards women. The mother with the little girl was hospitalized in a room with other patients and, spontaneously, a microcosm of authentic and affectionate solidarity. Everyone helped each other and reserved the most substantial morsel for those who needed it most, the children and women who were pregnant or breastfeeding, even if on the ship they certainly didn’t have the malnutrition problems they experienced on land.”
Population at risk of malnutrition
According to a joint statement from the United Nations, Unicef and WHO (World Health Organization), the entire population of Gaza, approximately 2.2 million people (of which There are 335 thousand children under 5 years old considered particularly vulnerable) is in a condition of severe malnutrition because he skips meals every day. The famine that is affecting the civilians of the Strip makes the already terrible health situation even more dramatic. “Sick people are more likely to succumb to hunger and hungry people are more vulnerable to disease,” he said a few days ago Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. «The arrival on the ship of many women and children malnourished and dehydrated it is an aggravating factor in treatment because they are conditions that undermine the ability of an organism to react – comments Sartori -. I have seen many thin women, with heavy menstrual cycles who have minimal iron deposition and very anemic young children with continuous and debilitating diarrhoea. Conditions that make health interventions more complex.”
The foundation that helps women and children around the world
Volunteer doctors are mainly involved in the care of women and children on Vulcano Francesca Rava Foundation which has been collaborating with institutions for years to offer excellent healthcare skills during major health emergencies. «Our projects are born from 15 years of experience gained in the field and they are all “equations that don’t add up” because they involve major natural disasters, wars, migrations that require urgent interventions to help civilian populations in great difficulty. We don’t hold back, we go where there is a need – he explains Emma Bajardi responsible for emergency management of the Francesca Rava Foundation — . On the Vulcano we offer chealthcare coverage and we provide medical equipment and materials, as in other cases in Italy and abroad (for example Haiti, Ukraine, Turkey and the Mediterranean). Thanks to the skills we have gained and the help of our donors, we work alongside the institutions with professionalism and effectiveness.”
«We treat the wounded, whoever is in need»
«You can’t do anything alone, this is our philosophy. Sometimes they ask us why a small foundation like ours can participate in large missions. It’s simple: we try to connect the professional skills, strength and hearts of many valuable people together with the institutions we have been working with for years. It’s the best recipe for doing good – he says Mariavittoria Rava, president of the Francesca Rava Foundation —. During humanitarian emergencies we bring together collaborations with Italian hospitals of excellence, the availability of many valuable doctors and the precious support of our supporters without
which nothing would be possible. We are proof that even in the face of immense catastrophes “it can be done” eqhen they ask us if we only treat Palestinians or Israelis we reply that we don’t care who is in front of usI, we treat the wounded, whoever is in need».
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January 28, 2024 (modified January 28, 2024 | 08:56)
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