Power outages to stop health services in Gaza hospital

Newborn babies are placed in the incubation department at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City [Apaimages]

Newborn babies are placed in the incubation department at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City

An official at the Palestinian Ministry of Health warned on Sunday that medical services provided by the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip would soon stop due to an ongoing electricity crisis.

Medhat Abbas, director general of the hospital, told a news conference:

Only one week of fuel is available for Al-Shifa Medical Complex, which provides services to half a million patients a year

He added: “This hospital also saved the lives of thousands of Palestinian people injured in the ongoing marches on the security fence.”

He said in a few days “there will be no fuel to run generators used to provide power needed to operate departments and organs of the hospital”.

He warned of the danger of power outages for many departments such as dialysis, intensive care, surgery rooms, outpatient clinics, and sections of radiation.

“The lack of electricity poses a direct threat to the lives of civilians inside the besieged Gaza Strip,” he said.

Abbas added that the donors the Ministry of Health relied on to provide fuel to their hospitals were no longer available.

Home to nearly two million people, the Gaza Strip boasts a total of 13 Ministry-run hospitals and 54 primary healthcare centres that account for roughly 95 percent of all health services in the coastal enclave.

Gaza, which continues to groan under Israeli siege, has struggled with severe electricity shortages since 2006.

(Source / 16.09.2018)

WHO strengthens trauma care services in Gaza

Trauma WHO

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report stating that with support from the European Union, it is replenishing stocks of urgently-needed trauma medicines in the besieged Gaza Strip and providing hands-on training for health staff working in frontline Trauma Stabilization Points (TSPs).

Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, WHO’s Head of Office for Gaza and the West Bank, said in the report that life-saving medicines and medical supplies to treat more than 100,000 people have been delivered to hospitals and TSPs, filling critical gaps before supplies rapidly deplete as a result of increasing numbers of casualties in the ongoing protests known as “The Great March of Return,” which began on March 30th.
The report stated “The role of health workers at Trauma Stabilization Points is crucial. Health staff in TSPs are usually the first to see wounded patients, and their capacity to resuscitate, stabilize, and treat patients with serious injuries can significantly increase patients’ chances of survival before they are referred to hospital for further medical care.”
“More than 18,000 people have been injured from 30th March until the beginning of September 2018, due the ongoing protests in Gaza. Of the 18,000, more than 8,600 individuals were managed and directly discharged at TSPs, while almost 9,500 referred by TSP health workers to hospitals for specialized care.”
A Palestinian patient, who was treated at the TSPs, said “When I was shot in the leg, I was taken to the closest trauma stabilization center which was less than five minutes away. Doctors treated my injury and made sure I was stable enough to be taken to hospital. Without this immediate medical care to save my leg, I would have survived the journey to hospital, but my leg could have been permanently damaged.”
The report added “This serves to improve the health system in Gaza as a whole.”
To ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the provision of trauma care in Gaza, WHO has established a dedicated Trauma Working Group with different trauma sub-groups, focusing on areas such as reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, bring together expertise and knowledge that will ensure quality emergency and trauma care for all injured.
(Source / 16.09.2018)

Gaza hospital to close due to fuel shortfall

Due to the shortage of fuel, generators at seven health centres in the besieged Gaza Strip have stopped working

The Abu Yusuf Al-Najjar Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip will cease functioning within nine days due to a lack of fuel needed for its electricity generators, Gaza’s Health Ministry warned today.

In a statement, the ministry said that if health services are halted at the Rafah-based hospital 250,000 people could be affected.


Roughly 400 patients regularly visit the hospital to receive vital medical treatment, including dialysis, the ministry said.

In recent weeks, the ministry has repeatedly warned of the impending collapse of Gaza’s local health sector due to a chronic shortage of fuel needed to keep hospitals’ emergency generators up and running.

Home to some two million people, the Gaza Strip has a total of 13 government-run hospitals and 54 primary healthcare centres, which together account for roughly 95 per cent of all health services in the coastal enclave.

READ: Gaza hospitals to stop services over fuel crisis

Gaza is suffering from an acute shortage of electricity as a result of the 11-year Israeli imposed siege. Both Egypt and the Palestinian Authority have supported the blockage by imposing further limitations on the Strip.

2 million people are deprived of electricity, vital medical care, and clean water in #Gaza

READ: ow.ly/QyoE30eOfV9

MEMO Infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 12.09.2018)

Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem: US decision to cut aid catastrophic

Makassed Hospital

Responding to the US decision to cancel the $20 million grant allocated to the Palestinian Makassed hospital in occupied Jerusalem, the hospital administration on Saturday that the measure harms live-saving services and confuses political issues with medical and humanitarian ones.

The Hospital admin said in a statement that this decision comes at a time when the hospital is facing a severe financial crisis due to the large cash flow deficit and the outstanding debts of the Palestinian government.

“The hospital’s share of the total US grant is 45 million shekels ($12.5 million), which helps a great deal its various departments and the provision of services for its patients who come from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and occupied Jerusalem,” it said.

Depriving the hospital of these funds demands an immediate financial intervention from the Palestinian government to help the hospital pay the income tax, the property tax and the pension fund imposed by the Israeli government, said Makassed’s admin.

The statement slammed the US move, which it said makes part of US attempts to pressure the Palestinians to accept its dictates.

US President Donald Trump ordered that $25m earmarked for the medical care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals be directed elsewhere as part of a review of aid, a State Department official said on Saturday.

Trump called for a review of US assistance to the Palestinians earlier this year to ensure that the funds were being spent in accordance with national interests and were providing value to taxpayers, Reuters reported.

The aid cut is the latest in a number of sanctions by the Trump administration that have stirred the anger of Palestinians, including the recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

“This is not a formula of peace-building, this is a complete inhuman and immoral action that adopts the Israeli right-wing narrative to target and punish Palestinian citizens to compromise their rights to independence,” AFP cited a Palestinian official as stating.

Human rights groups also condemned such an act of “political blackmail”, which they said goes against the norms of human decency and morality.

(Source / 09.09.2018)

The debate on UNRWA takes focus away from the realities of refugees

Ramona Wadi

By Ramona Wadi

In the aftermath of the US decision to end its funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the EU has pledged to continue its financial support. In terms of the agency being able to continue providing services to Palestinian refugees, the news is undoubtedly welcome. However, the EU is still failing Palestinian refugees in terms of why it has decided to continue funding UNRWA.

According to a statement partially published by Wafa news agency, “The EU is committed to securing the continuation and sustainability of the agency’s work which is vital for stability and security in the region”. For all diplomatic intents and purposes, Palestinian refugees are merely an appendage to be used and exploited politically. Building upon the absence of historic Palestine and speaking only about a hypothetical Palestinian state, the international community, including the EU, gave Israel a green light to claim, albeit while exonerating its colonial presence from accountability, that there is a perpetuation of maintaining the status quo for Palestinian refugees.

The EU has no vision for Palestinian refugees and does not care whether they will return to their homeland or not. While it will continue to support UNRWA, it must be said that the dynamics are those of institutions supporting other institutions. A viable way to do so without raising the ire of the victims is by emphasising the humanitarian intent. Depoliticising humanitarian aid, however, has opened avenues for political entities to coerce victims into remaining victims.

By promoting the provision, or withdrawal of, financial support for humanitarian aid depending upon the actors involved, Palestinian refugees are deprived from a collaborative political commitment to change the passiveness enshrined within UN Resolution 194.

Trump’s decision adds to the consequences of the earlier colonial ethnic cleansing and displacement, while the EU’s reiteration that it will continue funding UNRWA ensures that its provision of basic services for Palestinian refugees can proceed. Yet, common to both US and EU actions, is the underlying motive to ensnare refugees in perpetual dependency. The most convenient way to achieve that is to balance contrasting actions in a way that promotes and maintains refugee dependency upon international humanitarian aid. With that balance, obligations are forced upon Palestinian refugees to accept whatever the international community deems as suitable parameters. A Palestinian right of return that departs from the Palestinian narratives was never on the agenda for the complicit international community.

Currently, the only discourse that defines the existence of Palestinian refugees is eclipsed by UNRWA and the funding saga. The international community has willingly participated in the snare created by Israel and the US – that of amalgamating Palestinian refugee identity to the agency providing basic needs, instead of speaking about Palestinians in direct relation to historic Palestine. Israel’s plan, carried out by the US, seeks to disrupt UNRWA and, as a result, refute recognition of the Palestinian refugee condition and their right of return. A strong rebuttal from the international community is non-existent; the reason being that Palestinian refugees and their right of return are externally defined by a flawed, non-binding resolution endorsing Israel’s colonisation first and foremost.

(Source / 09.09.2018)

Gaza hospitals to stop services over fuel crisis

Gaza has a total of 13 Ministry-run hospitals and 54 primary health care centers

Palestinian Health Ministry warned on Sunday of grave consequences of the fuel crisis on hospitals in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“Generators are about to shut in major hospitals in Gaza due to shortage of fuel,” ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.

“There is no response from all parties so far [to solve the crisis],” he said.

On Tuesday, the ministry warned of collapse of medical services in hospitals in Gaza due to lack of fuel needed to run generators in hospitals.

Home to nearly two million people, the Gaza Strip boasts a total of 13 Ministry-run hospitals and 54 primary health care centers that account for roughly 95 per cent of all health services in the coastal enclave.

Gaza, which continues to groan under Israeli siege, has struggled with severe electricity shortages since 2006.

(Source / 09.09.2018)

UN: Gaza patients at risk of death

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator to the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, Wednesday urged immediate funding for emergency fuel to Gaza to avoid catastrophic breakdown in essential services.

The Humanitarian Coordinator has written to the donor community requesting immediate support for a program which provides life-saving emergency fuel to operate standby emergency power generators at critical health centers, and water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip. Funds donated thus far in 2018 have been depleted, he said.

A statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory said final stocks of emergency fuel will be delivered this week to critical facilities in the Gaza Strip, through the United Nations-Assisted Emergency Fuel Program.

Life-saving services in Gaza currently depend on the UN’s delivery of emergency fuel, due to an energy crisis that leaves the two million Palestinian residents of Gaza, over half of whom are children, with only 4-5 hours of electricity from the grid per day. Based on the current electricity deficit in Gaza, a minimum of $4.5 million is required to sustain these essential services until the end of the year.

“If new funds are not received immediately, we will be facing a potentially catastrophic breakdown in essential service delivery,” said McGoldrick. “Services provided at hospitals, clinics, as well as sewage treatment, water and sanitation facilities will cease. Some hospitals are already within a week of closing. The most vulnerable people of Gaza, who rely on public services and have no income sources, will be the most negatively affected.”

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip only have enough fuel to support service provision just over two weeks, in total, with some facilities at greater risk, putting the lives of hundreds of vulnerable patients at risk each day. These include patients being treated in intensive care, new-born babies in neonatal units, patients requiring emergency surgery, dialysis patients treated for kidney failure, and those needing emergency care, said the statement by OCHA.

More than 4,800 patients in Gaza daily require access to lifesaving or life-sustaining health care that requires a constant supply of electricity. Of these, at least 300 are connected to life-saving medical machines such as ventilators, dialysis machines, incubators and anesthetic machines, where disruption or electricity cut-out puts patients at immediate risk of brain damage or death.

Without fuel, some 300,000 people will potentially be affected by serious public health concerns as sewage could overflow onto streets.

“The situation in Gaza is desperate. Over a decade of blockade and unresolved internal political divisions have stripped people of their rights and left over two-thirds of the population dependent on humanitarian aid,” said McGoldrick. “We can prevent a further slide into catastrophe by ensuring that essential services continue, but we need the international community to step up immediately with support to do so.”

(Source / 06.09.2018)

Palestinian prisoner suffers serious health problems

Prison and health

Palestinian ex-prisoner Ahmad Ja’far, who was released from Israeli jails Sunday evening, said that prisoner Kamal Abu Erra, who is sentenced to life imprisonment, is in a critical health condition as he is suffering from an increased breakdown of platelets.

Ja’far said that the Israel Prison Service does not provide any kind of treatment to the Palestinian prisoners suffering from serious health problems and only gives them painkillers.

For example, Ja’far added, prisoner Azmi al-Naffa’ needs an urgent surgery for his injured jaw but the Israel Prison Service denies him treatment.

Ja’far stressed that the condition of sick prisoners, especially long-serving ones, in Israeli jails is extremely tragic, calling for immediate intervention to save their lives.

(Source / 03.09.2018)

Gaza Ministry of Health: No Response from Donors on Fuel

27 AUG
8:44 PM

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Qedra, said that there has been no response from donors, to provide fuel for the facilities of the Ministry.

The Ministry has previously issued warnings regarding a shortage of fuel, which threatens the provision of health services to citizens.
During the past years of siege, the Ministry’s facilities in Gaza have experienced several crises due to the shortage of fuel, causing the closure of a number of health facilities and the provision of services.
(Source / 28.08.2018)

Gaza children living with the trauma of wars

An Israeli air raid almost killed six-year-old Nama Abu Foul in 2014 and she, like many of Gaza children, still deals with the physical and mental injuries suffered during wars on Gaza

Half of Gaza population is under the age of 17, but many of them have already lived through three wars and the scars, visible and otherwise, remain.

Andrew Simmons visited a young girl still living with the trauma of a severe head injury she sustained in the 2014 war.

(Source / 27.08.2018)