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Women in humanitarian crisis

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War tears families apart, traumatizes generations, and leads to countless personal tragedies. Currently, it is estimated that 63 women die daily in the Gaza Strip, and in Ukraine, as many as 8 million of them need assistance. Armed conflicts are the cause of immense suffering for a vast group of women. Reasons for this state of affairs include, among others, structural gender inequalities, violence, and lack of access to medical care.

The conflict in the Gaza Strip does not spare women. UN Women reports that over 9,000 of them have been killed there since the beginning of hostilities. Until a ceasefire is reached, this number will continue to rise steadily. The entire population, numbering 2.3 million people, also faces hunger and malnutrition. Faced with the problem of food access, the most vulnerable suffer the most, including women, pregnant women, and children. Often, this poses a deadly threat to them.

Mothers living in crisis-affected areas often consciously forgo their own meals to give them to their children. This happens in 95% of cases among families affected by insufficient food supply. This significantly weakens women’s bodies, making them even more susceptible to diseases and other dangers,

says Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart, director of the humanitarian aid program at the Polish Medical Mission.

Among those providing medical assistance and working in social support, as much as 70% are women, often understanding the attitudes of those in need of support. Unfortunately, the situation remains tragic in other war-affected regions as well. In Ukraine, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, 3,238 women and girls have been killed, and 4,872 have been injured. Additionally, 56% of the approximately 4 million internally displaced persons are women. War exacerbates problems that society has not yet dealt with, such as sexual violence, human trafficking, and domestic violence. Sometimes the threats lie in wait for women in their own homes.

The Polish Medical Mission conducts humanitarian operations in conflict-affected areas. In the Gaza Strip, together with the local partner – the Palestinian Medical Relief Society – it assists civilians. The first tranche of aid, financed by donors’ contributions, includes medical supplies, warm clothing, and milk for newborns. Since the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, PMM has directed its efforts towards women and children, knowing that this group needs urgent assistance.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish Medical Mission has focused on helping women and their children. We have equipped 26 neonatal units in Ukraine. We also assist refugees, predominantly women. In Poland, almost 70% of migrants from Ukraine are women

– emphasizes Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart.

The organization continuously trains Ukrainian doctors, primarily in the care of women and newborns, and also provides Ukrainian hospitals with necessary medical equipment. In Poland, the Polish Medical Mission assists refugees (usually mothers with children), for example, through the activities of Child-Friendly Spaces, which provide integrative and specialist services in psychological care, legal assistance, and translation.



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