Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination
AAP headquarters

AAP calls on U.S. officials to urgently consider unique needs of children in Gaza; offers assistance

March 6, 2024

The AAP is calling on federal officials to urgently consider the unique needs of children when responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. It also is offering its expertise.

“Pediatricians understand that the profound cost of any war is measured in children’s lives — those lost to violence and those forever changed by it,” AAP President Benjamin D. Hoffman, M.D., FAAP, wrote in a letter to the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. “We know that what happens to these children today and what we do for them will help determine what becomes of this generation tomorrow.”

The AAP also sent the letter to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other top U.S. officials. It comes on the heels of Biden and Harris calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas War and expressing concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza where thousands of children have been killed, injured or held hostage. Thousands more face starvation, trauma and uncertainty.

Armed conflict affects children’s physical, mental and behavioral health and can have lifelong impacts, according to the AAP policy The Effects of Armed Conflict on Children. The policy calls for governments to safeguard children and for pediatricians and health organizations to be involved in preventing and responding to armed conflict.

Dr. Hoffman encouraged officials to consider the unique physical, physiological and mental health needs of children in Gaza. Those include the need for appropriately sized medical equipment, medications formulated for children, support for nutritional needs and child health professionals equipped to provide trauma-informed care. In addition, he stressed the importance of birth registration, which could help provide legal protection, family reunification and access to services for the 20,000 babies born in Gaza since the war began.

AAP leaders hope to meet with U.S. government officials soon to discuss these issues. The AAP has spoken out several times on the need to protect children since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. In November, the AAP Board of Directors reaffirmed and expanded its policy on armed conflict. In December, it released a commentary condemning acts of violence and hate and emphasizing that all children deserve unconditional support. The commentary noted many pediatricians and the families they care for have been impacted by the war as well as increasing acts of violence and intimidation.

“The pain of our members is palpable; both the urgent desire to do all we can to protect children in Israel and Gaza and the fear and concern we are experiencing as acts of hate proliferate in the United States,” the commentary states. “Yet our common mission and the outpouring of support and solidarity among our member pediatricians reminds us there is light in the darkness.”

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal