The residents of the Otma camp on the border with Turkey are forced to resort to primitive methods of giving birth, as well as the use of non-sterile instruments; thereby exposing pregnant women to a host of health hazards.
Umm Mohammed underwent severe bleeding; and says that she had to also face great difficulties until reaching the Otma city hospital. The camp lacks the services of a gynecologist, and there is no ambulance to transport pregnant women to the hospital.
Lack of support for medical centers in the Otma camp, renders caring for women during their pregnancies extremely difficult. In the case of sudden birth, both mother and baby are also at severe risk.
Fatima Al-Ahmad, a camp resident, says that women are demanding the presence of a competent obs-gyn specialist to address emergency cases; particulalry those night emergenices.
Women giving birth inside the camp exposes them to several risks, as confirmed by Doctor Ruba Shamma. Use of non-sterile instruments may lead to puerperal infection, or inflammation of the uterus after birth;thus prompting patients to take high dosages of antibiotics.
It is possible that a pregnant woman—or the newborn—may be exposed to tetanic sepsis. This may also involve bleeding, either because of incorrectly sewn ruptures, or because of internal bleeding caused by uterine inertia or the relaxation of the uterus following childbirth.
Shamma adds: "These hemorrhages should be detected during childbirth, meaning during a period not exceeding two hours; so as to avoid further bleeding, and thereby eliminating the need for a blood transfusion to the pregnant woman."
About lengthy and difficult labor, she says that if labor lasts for more than four hours for women who have already given birth before; the patient must be transferred to the hospital immediately. As for a woman giving birth for the first time, she should be taken to hospital if the labor lasts for more than 8 hours.
Also, in the pregnant woman bleeds in excess of 200ml during her labor period, or if her "water breaks" without pangs for more than 6 hours; she also needs to be transferred to a hospital, as the doctor confirms.
Most Prevalent Diseases
Vaginal infections during pregnancy are the most common diseases among women in the camp. The doctor indicates that these need to be addressed quite early, so as not to lead to side effects—such as premature birth. A periodical review with an obs-gyn medical clinic during pregnancy is also a must.
A pregnant woman may resort to some more primitive natural remedies to treat inflammation: Chamomile washes; apple vinegar and garlic; yogurt; or olive leaves—in the case that obs-gyn ointments and suppositories normally used in this case are unavailable.
Shamma says that the symptoms of vaginal inflammation are abdominal pain with lower back pain; rising temperatures; in addition to severe vaginal secretions with a foul odor.
She adds: "Extra care of personal hygiene must be taken in the camps—especially the vaginal area, due to infections from shared bathrooms."
The doctor advises against wearing tight clothes, while advising the use of plain, non-scented soap, as well as unscented towels.