The Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) joins the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank. CAM implores the Canadian Government to exert its influence on the international stage and demand a sustained humanitarian ceasefire.
We feel immense grief at the staggering loss of life we are witnessing, including soaring maternal, child and neonatal deaths in Gaza caused by the bombardments, widespread displacement, collapsing health infrastructure, and restricted access to electricity, water, food and medicine. Every day in Gaza, 180 children are born in these dangerous conditions and 420 children are killed or injured (WHO, 2023). According to UNFPA, there are an estimated 50,000 pregnant people in Gaza, with no postpartum care currently available. We have heard horrific reports of caesarean sections being performed without anesthesia and of people being forced to birth their babies in overcrowded shelters, in the streets, and in other conditions that expose them to high risk of infection and disease. The psychological impact of continued exposure to violence and trauma also cannot be overstated, with severe, and sometimes fatal, repercussions for reproductive health.
As attested by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), midwives are a lifeline for pregnant women in Gaza. However, midwives and other health workers cannot provide adequate care under conditions of ongoing violence and trauma, without safe access to lifesaving resources.
We are also deeply troubled by rising incidents of antisemitic, Islamophobic and racist violence here in Canada, including in Montreal, where CAM’s head office is located. CAM condemns all acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and any form of discrimination or hate.
Urgent action is needed to end the violence. CAM calls on the Canadian Government to do everything in its power to peacefully facilitate the delivery of life-saving aid to the people in Gaza, the protection of humanitarian and healthcare workers in the region, and the safe return of all hostages. While we are encouraged by the recent announcement of a temporary humanitarian pause, such pauses are insufficient to address the severity of destruction to Gaza’s health system and its people. A sustained ceasefire is needed to prevent further loss of life.
CJ Blennerhassett, RM
Read CAM’s previous statement (October 19, 2023):
Donate to relief efforts spearheaded by Canadian aid agencies: https://www.humanitariancoalition.ca/gaza-humanitarian-emergency