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Syrian babies 'dying in incubators due to power cuts'

Newborns freezing to death in hospital incubators, patients opting to be knocked out with metal bars for lack of anesthesia, surging cases of polio.

A new report published by charity Save the Children paints a dire picture of Syria's collapsing healthcare system.

A baby survivor at a hospital in Aleppo Credit: REUTERS/Hosam Katan

The report, issued by charity Save the Children, said some 60 percent of Syria's hospitals have been damaged or destroyed since the start of the three-year-old conflict and nearly half of its doctors have fled the country.

In Aleppo, one of the worst-hit cities, only 36 of its 2,500 doctors remain.

The report says increasing numbers of children are suffering and dying from diseases that would have been previously treated or prevented.

Up to 80,000 children across the Syria have contracted polio, even though the illness was eradicated across Syria in 1995.

Over 140,000 people have died in the war, which started as a peaceful protest movement against President Bashar al-Assad and degenerated into civil conflict.

Read: Syrians to become world's largest refugee population

UK Syrian refugee announcement welcomed by charity

Britain's decision to resettle some of the "most vulnerable" Syrian refugees has been welcomed by Save the Children, as it was "consistent with the UK Government's leadership".

Speaking from Jordan, Karl Schembri told Daybreak the UK had provided "generous humanitarian aid" to the millions of Syrian refugees who had fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

However, he warned the amount Britain would re-home was just "the tip of the iceberg", adding that it should take in thousands, not hundreds.

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Celebrity waxworks get Christmas makeover for charity

Celebrity waxworks at Madame Tussauds have been given a festive makeover in support of Save the Children.

Wax figures of Usain Bolt, Albert Einstein and Kate Winslet in their Christmas jumpers.
Wax figures of Usain Bolt, Albert Einstein and Kate Winslet in their Christmas jumpers. Credit: PA

Wax figures of Usain Bolt, Albert Einstein, Kate Winslet, Sir Richard Branson and Boris Johnson saw their usual attire replaced with loud Christmas jumpers to show their support for the charity's 'Christmas Jumper Day: Make the world better with a sweater' campaign.

People are being encouraged to wear a Christmas jumper on Friday 13 December and give £1 or more to Save the Children.

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Victoria Beckham backs breastfeeding campaign

Celebrities Victoria Beckham, Myleene Klass and Donna Air have tweeted their support for the Save the Children breastfeeding campaign, they wrote:

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As a mother I know how crucial the first hour of a baby's life is. This is why I'm supporting @savechildrenuk #firsthour x vb

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As a mum,I know how crucial the first hour of a baby’s life is. This is why I’m supporting @savechildrenuk #firsthour http://t.co/VobvaJiL

'Empowerment of women' is key for breastfeeding

Brendan Cox from Save the Children has said, that the empowerment of women is one of the main reasons, why women do not breast feed.

Speaking to Daybreak he said in many cases women are not allowed to make the decision, with the husband making the decision for them.

A report out today has highlighted the fact that fewer women are breastfeeding in developing countries.

Save the Children say that by feeding a child within the first hour of it being born, it can boost the baby's immune system and even "save lives".

Read: Breastfeeding in the first hour could save 830,000 lives

Calls for Government to encourage breastfeeding

The number of breastfeeding mothers in East Asia and the Pacific has fallen from 45% in 2006 to 29% in 2012.

Save the Children is calling on the UK Government to use its hunger summit and G8 presidency in June to help other donor countries step up their funding for nutrition.

The charity said that lives could be saved if mothers breastfed within the first hour after birth.

The world is at tipping point and we could be the generation to stop children dying from preventable disease and malnutrition.

This year's G8 - with the UK in the driving seat - is a once in a lifetime opportunity to focus effort on a final push to end hunger.

– Justin Forsyth, Save the Children chief executive
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