The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has expressed concern over the Ramallah-based health ministry’s failure to provide medical referrals for Gaza patients who need treatment abroad.
“Based on PCHR’s constant follow-up of the external treatment file, Ramallah’s ministry of health minimized in April referrals abroad or the renewal of other referrals of hundreds of patients suffering from serious and chronic diseases without displaying the reasons behind this decision,” a statement released by the PCHR said on Monday.
The rights group voiced fear over “the disastrous impacts inflicted on hundreds of patients who urgently need medical treatment or medical follow-up in hospitals in Israel and the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem.”
The group said that it collected data indicating a gradual decline in the number of medical referrals issued for the Gaza patients, as the number reached 2,190 referrals in March, 1,756 in April, 1,484 in May and less than 500 in June.
The number of medical referrals approved by the higher medical committee in Gaza since early June is over 2,500 referrals so far for patients suffering from serious medical problems that have no treatment in Gaza. However, Ramallah’s external medical treatment department issued only 400 referrals, according to further PCHR data.
The PCHR also said it “is shocked as the West Bank hospitals has started rejecting hospital appointments for the Gaza Strip patients with medical referrals from the external medical treatment department [in Ramallah], although these hospitals used to reserve a bed for the referred patient under the term “financial coverage offered later,” warning that this new measure would hinders the Gaza patients’ access to those hospitals and aggravates the health situation.
“These measures deny dozens of patients who need urgent treatment the opportunity to receive medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip. They also result in a grave deterioration in the health sector and jeopardize the patients’ lives. A number of these patients were admitted to the intensive care unit in Gaza following their health status deterioration. Hundreds of patients have been expecting death in the Gaza Strip hospitals in light of the absence of any opportunity to receive treatment abroad,” its statement warned further.
The statement underlined that “denying patients their right to receive medical treatment abroad, in view of the absence of a proper alternative in Gaza, is a clear violation of the right to health ensured in the Palestinian Basic Law amended in 2003 and the Public Health Law of 2004.”
“[It is also] an obvious violation of the international human rights standards, including article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to which Palestine acceded in 2014. This accession obliges Palestine to offer each individual the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to health services, medication and treatment,” the statement added.
(Source / 10.07.2017)