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Categorie archief Zorg / Health

Female poet launches bid for cancer hospital in Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– Palestinian poet Ilham Abu Dhaher has launched an initiative to build a hospital for cancer treatment in the blockaded Gaza Strip under the slogan “Let’s Do It.” Poet Abu Dhaher said the initiative saw the day because of the lack of hospitals for cancer therapy in the besieged coastal enclave. “It is the right of our people in Gaza to have a hospital for cancer-stricken patients,” the poet said. She raised alarm bells over the agony suffered by Gaza’s cancer patients due to the closure of border-crossings and the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. “I will do whatever it takes to make this dream come true,” she vowed. “A Palestinian benevolent expatriate donated a five-dunum-land for the project,” she said. “Whoever thinks of serving his motherland has to make the first steps on his own,” poet Abu Dhaher further stated.

(Source / 20.03.2016)

Doctors face uphill task to treat Syria’s mental wounds

Syrian psychiatrist Nahla, 34, listens to a patient in her office at the UNHCR-funded hospital where she works in central Damascus, Syria

DAMASCUS, March 11 (UNHCR) Al-Sahira’s world is falling apart. Two years ago, the 48-year-old lost three of her 14 children when their house in Aleppo was partially destroyed by shelling. The displaced family sought safety in Damascus, but then tragedy struck again last month when shrapnel took the life of her 13-year-old son Zakariya.

Sitting in a psychiatrist’s office in a central Damascus hospital, Al-Sahira* struggles to stop her hands from shaking as she describes the mental anguish the bereavements have inflicted on her.

“I don’t know how I have coped. I spend a lot of time just sitting at home and looking at pictures of my dead children,” she says. “I feel that I must speak to someone and tell them what I’ve been through.”

Nahla, a 34-year-old psychiatrist from Qalamoun, 90 kilometres north of the capital, says Al-Sahira’s suffering is part of a dramatic increase in psychological trauma affecting Syrians after five years of conflict.

“The crisis has had a deep psychological effect on people, but this is a perfectly normal reaction to an abnormal situation,” says Nahla, who heads up the mental health and psychosocial support department of the UNHCR-funded Poly-Clinic, run by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

While there are no verifiable figures on the increase in mental health disorders among Syrians since the outbreak of the conflict, Nahla estimates that the number of people requiring treatment has roughly trebled. Of the 400-500 patients that her department treats each month, the most common conditions they encounter are depression (23 per cent), anxiety (18 per cent) and post-traumatic stress disorder (13 per cent).

Compounding the increase in suffering has been a corresponding drop in the number of practicing psychiatrists inside Syria. Figures from the Association of Psychiatrists in Syria show that there are currently just 70 qualified psychiatrists across the country less than half the number before the crisis began.

Several of Nahla’s former colleagues have left the country, but it was the outbreak of conflict that convinced her to stay. “Before the crisis I wanted to move abroad and specialize in child psychiatry, but I changed my mind and stayed to be with my family and help my country. Syria has given me a lot, and I had something to repay,” she says.

For those like Nahla that remained, that decision was not without cost. Like many of her colleagues, she has lost family members and been displaced from her home by the fighting. The work also takes a psychological toll on the medical practitioners themselves.

“No one is unaffected by what’s happening in Syria. After five years, most of the staff members also suffer from psychological issues. We try to support each other and organize team-based interventions,” she explains.

For patients such as Al-Sahira, while medication may be required to address specific conditions such as depression, equally important is the opportunity to share her experiences with a trained professional and begin the process of recovery.

“We can’t take away the pain of people like Al-Sahira that have lost children, but we can listen without judgment and try to reconnect them with their families and social networks. Without this kind of help they would suffer far more and their conditions would worsen,” Nahla says.

The only positive impact of the crisis that Nahla has witnessed is the removal of the stigma surrounding mental illness, with people that previously would never have come to her now seeking help. She says the biggest challenge is ensuring that Syrians do not become inured to what is going on around them.

“After five years of war, people are starting to get used to it. I’m constantly working to try to make sure they don’t become accustomed to this situation. There is nothing normal about what is happening in conflict impacted communities in Syria.”

(Source / 13.03.2016)

Italian Surgeon Returns to Gaza to Train Local Doctors

On February 27, Prof. Andrea Carobbi, a General and Laparoscopic surgeon from Luca, Italy arrived to the European Gaza Hospital to provide training for local surgeons and to oversee two operations.

Dr. Carobbi has led several past volunteer missions for the PCRF in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon to provide training in specialized surgery and support for patients. Also in the EGH hospital is a large pediatric cardiac surgery team from Tuscany, Italy saving the lives of sick children with heart disease.

(Source / 04.03.2016)

Dialysis in Gaza: A shrinking lifeline for kidney patients

Rawan, 20, receives dialysis four times a week at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Photo credit: Lara Aburamadan

Rawan, 20, receives dialysis four times a week at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza

As well as being the largest medical complex in Gaza, the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City is certainly the busiest. Serving a population of 1.8 million people, and providing many specialised medical services not available at any other hospital in Gaza, Al Shifa often struggles to cope with the high demands placed upon it.

After you enter the hospital and wander through the numerous wards and hallways, you find an old building that houses the Renal Services Department. Here, patients receive the treatment they need for illnesses which have affected the functioning of their kidneys.

In one room, at the end of a long corridor, a number of patients lie on beds, hooked up to the dialysis machines. They sit with pale faces while receiving their treatment, and each one has their own story to tell.

Education interrupted

Rawan Al-Mabhouh, a 20-year-old woman from Bait Lahia in northern Gaza, started receiving dialysis six years ago. She has to visit the hospital four times a week for this treatment. Rawan has a joyful spirit, and loves singing and dancing.

“I was infected with the St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus when I was 12 years old” she told us.“The virus attacks my body functions and my blood, and it caused my kidneys to fail. Each time I come to the hospital I spend four hours receiving dialysis. Most of the time when receiving the treatment I feel weak and I can’t hold anything, but I’m trying to get over the weakness. The electricity often cuts out while doing the dialysis, and I feel tired.”

For patients like Rawan, the dialysis services provided at Al Shifa are literally a lifeline. “I can’t imagine what would happen without the hospital. My life is here, I’d be shocked and we’d be lost” says Rawan. “I have made many friends in the hospital, including with the nurses and workers in the department. They treat us very well and take good care of us.”

“During the war, I suffered a lot because I struggled to reach the hospital. No transportation was available, and the ambulances couldn’t come to us. It was dangerous. We were under attack and afraid and my home is far from here.”

Rawan’s illness has affected her access to education, too. “I was admitted to the intensive care last year and I stayed there for 15 days. In the end I have had to repeat the whole year. I hope to continue my studies. I am in the last year of high school and I hope to go to university.”

But Rawan’s biggest wish? “To receive a kidney transplant,” she says, “and to be a normal person like other girls. I wish I could find a donor.”

Medicine shortages

Sixty-year old Shabaan Al-Ejla, has also been receiving dialysis for six years, and he faces different challenges to Rawan.

“I come for dialysis for three days every week, for four hours” says Shabaan. “We always have shortage of the medicines I need, and there was once a shortage which lasted for six months. Over these six years, my blood became weak and for each four sessions I need one blood unit. I might have taken 100 blood up to now.”

“Transportation is another problem. Sometimes I have to come to the hospital the night before my appointment, sleep here, and undergo dialysis the next day. Other times I finish at midnight and can’t find public transport to take me home, and I don’t have enough income to pay for taxis. I always feel tired after I finish dialysis.”

Dr. Abdallah Qishawi, director of the Renal Services Department says that 35% of patients live in the north of the strip and they struggle to find public transportation to their home late at night, and like Shabaan usually cannot afford to take private transportation. Gaza’s fuel shortages also reduce the capacity of ambulances and cars to transport patients.

Struggling for resources

Dr. Qishawi told us that the Renal Services Department is increasingly stretched. “The number of patients is increasing. We currently have almost 357 patients, many of whom who come three times or more for four hours every week for dialysis. We divide patients into four sessions per day. Sometimes we have to run five, with the last session starting at midnight.”

“There are no other centers providing dialysis in the north, so we provide dialysis for patients from Gaza City and the whole of northern Gaza at Al Shifa. We do our best to provide good facilities for our patients, however we received around five new patients every week.”

The problems caused by a high caseload are compounded by a lack of equipment, due in large part to Israel’s eight-year blockade and closure of Gaza. “Despite this increased number of patients, we have a shortage of dialysis machines. We have a few broken machines, but there are no spare parts to fix them due to the blockade,” says Dr Qishawi.

We have broken dialysis machines, but there are no spare parts to fix them due to the blockade

The latest data from the Ministry of Health confirms that about 48% of the essential disposable medical equipment needed to provide renal services in Gaza are at ‘zero stock’ – meaning that they have either completely run out, or tare at imminent risk of doing so. “Moreover, frequent electricity cuts are a major problem for dialysis services. Though we have a generator for the whole hospital but sometimes it takes a few minutes before it switches on after the central electricity cuts. This may cause blood clots for the patients, and it also effects the machines.”

“We also face a shortage of human resources – nurses and doctors.”

Despite these challenges, doctors at Al Shifa continue to develop and expand the services they can offer to kidney patients. “Two years ago we started to conduct kidney transplant operations, and up to now 25 patients have received them.”

(Source / 19.02.2016)

Patient prisoner suffers serious health condition

He suffers from blood and liver cancer in addition to unstable heart pulse

Palestinian prisoner Bassam al-Sayeh, 43, has been suffering serious health condition for a long time and the Israeli Prison Service hid information about him.

One of the sources reported Al-Sayeh expectations that his issue reach journalists and mass media in order to impart details about his conditions, hoping this might put pressure on the Israeli occupation

Days of Palestine, West Bank -Palestinian prisoner Bassam al-Sayeh, 43, has been suffering serious health condition for a long time and the Israeli Prison Service hid information about him.

The Prisoners Information Centre issued a statement on Wednesday revealing that Al-Sayeh has been suffering serious health condition for a long time and the Israeli Prison Service did not tell his family about this.

Al-Sayeh, from the West Bank city of Nablus, has been deprived from family visits for more than three years; therefore, no one from his relatives had known about his serious condition.

Credible sources were reported by the Prisoners Information Centre reiterating that Al-Sayeh was admitted to the prison hospital for several times during the past seven days.

The sources revealed that he suffers from blood and liver cancer and recently he started to suffer from instable heart plus.

One of the sources reported Al-Sayeh expectations that his issue reach journalists and mass media in order to impart details about his conditions, hoping this might put pressure on the Israeli occupation.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails are suffering critical health conditions and at the same time they are denied proper medical treatment.

(Source / 17.02.2016)

40 Palestinian children diagnosed with illnesses in Ofer lock-up

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– 40 Palestinian children locked up in the Israeli Ofer jail have been suffering from various diseases, a rights group reported Thursday. The Civil Liberties Defense Center said following a visit paid by lawyer Ibtissam Anati to the Ofer lock-up that 40 Palestinian children have been diagnosed with diseases, including critical health disorders. 276 children are held in the Ofer prison, 17 among whom aged between 14 and 15 years old. 17-year-old Mus’ab Ghneimat, held in the Ofer jail, was injured with three bullets in his right leg. Other detained minors have been diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes, along with stomach and pancreas disorders. The center raised alarm bells over the critical health condition of prisoner Azam Shalalda, who was kidnapped by an Israeli undercover unit from al-Khalil’s public hospital. Shalada was hit with 10 bullets in his leg, stomach, and neck. He underwent a surgery of artificial artery transplantation and got part of his stomach removed. The lawyer also sounded the alarm over the various illnesses endured by 20 Palestinian detainees in the Ramla prison clinic.

(Source / 12.02.2016)


The blockade on Gaza, now in its ninth year, and recurrent cycles of armed violence and conflict do not only affect the people of Gaza in physical and socio-economic terms, but also expose the population to high levels of psycho-social stress.

“Approximately one third of the over 1.2 million Palestine refugees who are receiving primary health care services through the 21 UNRWA Health Centres across Gaza show symptoms of mental and social disorders,” UNRWA Chief of Health Programme Dr. Ghada Al Jadba said in summarizing the situation.

As part of its continuous efforts to mitigate these dire aspects of life in Gaza and to improve its services, on 31 January the Agency launched a pilot project in Saftawi Health Centre, in North Gaza, to fully integratemental health care and psycho-social support within its primary health care services.

“The integration of mental health services within its primary health care is a turning point for the Agency, meaning that UNRWA is seeking to provide more comprehensive services to Palestine refugees, especially children and their families, who are approaching our Health Centres,” commented Mr. Bo Schack, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, during his opening speech at the launch event at Saftawi Health Centre, which was attended by community representatives and representatives from the World Health Organization(WHO) together with various senior UNRWA staff members and the Health Centre personnel.

The pilot project is based on the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme which aims at providing persons who experience mental health, psycho-social or neurological disorders with appropriate and accessible immediate care. The pilot project recognizes that people’s well-being is related to their physical and mental health and thus a holistic care approach, consistent with the UNWRA Family Health Team model, is required.

Prior to the launch of the pilot project, the UNRWA Health Programme, in cooperation with the UNRWA Community Mental Health Programme, in December 2015 initiated training for all Saftawi Health Centre personnel to provide them with specific skills to identify and address psycho-social stress symptoms of patients during their regular work in providing health care for Palestine refugees.

Learnings from the pilot will inform the further rollout as UNRWA plans to implement the integration of mental health services and psycho-social support within its primary health care in all 21 Health Centres across Gaza.


UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall,  projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

(Source / 03.02.2016)

Israel prevents Palestinian cancer patients from treatment

Muntzer is 8 years old and from the Gaza Strip. He suffers from Lymphoma, a blood cell tumour developing from lymphatic tissues.  (MEE/Eloise Bollack)

Muntzer is 8 years old and from the Gaza Strip. He suffers from Lymphoma, a blood cell tumour developing from lymphatic tissues

Israeli Major General and coordinator of Israeli government activities in the Occupied Palestinian territories, Yoav Mordechai, admitted that the government prevents cancer patients in Gaza from receiving treatment.

Earlier this week, Israel imposed a travel ban for patients through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the north of the Strip. Israel has given no reason for the ban on the patients who were previously allowed to enter Israel on medical grounds.

Mordechai said in an interview with the Palestinian daily news paper Al-Quds that his government has its excuses to prevent the Gaza cancer patients from treatment. Reportedly, he claimed that the cancer patients from Gaza are commissioned by Hamas to “sabotage” the Israeli economy.

Soha Hussein, a wife of 53-year old cancer patient from Gaza, emphasizes in an interview with days of Palestine: “My husband is too sick to be able to serve himself. How can you imagine he would be able to leave the hospital and collect intelligence information?”

But Yoav Mordechai is of different opinion. “Hamas cynical exploitation of Israeli entry permits is forcing Israel to think twice before it issues permits to Gazans,” he said, warning that the Israeli authorities to “close the Strip and completely prevent travel of Gazans from the Strip.”

It seems that he ignored the fact that his apartheid state has been placing a strict siege on the Gaza Strip since 2006.

According to teleSUR, Palestinian female cancer patients participated in a sit-in in Gaza this week in order to protest Israel’s refusal to allow female cancer patients from Gaza to cross into Israel to seek medical help, which they have been receiving for years.

The sit-in was organized by the Aid and Hope Program in front of the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Gaza. The group provides aid and support for cancer patients in the Palestinian enclave.

“Our message is to demand a clear explanation over the travel ban imposed on women cancer patients in the Gaza Strip,” said Eman Shanan, the general director of the AHP program in Gaza, according to teleSUR.

“These women have been receiving treatment for years. Our second message is directed to the Ministry of Health that they must insure the required treatment for them in case this travel ban continues,” Shanan added.

As a cancer survivor herself, Eman Shanan added that the United Nations’ World Health Organization should take the necessary measures to save the lives of these women:

“This is clearly a premeditated death sentence by Israel,” she warned.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, there are more than 14,600 cancer patients in Gaza. The AHP also says that 30 percent of them have been able to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

Many of the hospitals in Gaza simply cannot provide the optimized treatment for cancer, as a result of Israeli attacks on the hospitals and that access to medical supplies is hardly available. At the same time, according to an interview with Dr. Hamdan in Al-Akhbar, “patients in Gaza have no access to the medication they desperately need for their treatment. Even under normal circumstances, there are 45 kinds of cancer treatments that are not available in Gaza. Not to mention that from time to time, the Ministry of Health in Gaza declares acute shortages of medecine.” And on top of that there are only four doctors available for the almost 15.000 cancer patients.

Israel has in the past used cancer-inducting bombs such as Dense Inter metal Explosive, known as DIME and Depleted uranium. According to nuclear news,  people living in the dispersal zone will acquire cancers, birth defects , still births, and other known, unknown or untraceable and undiagnosable diseases.

(Source / 30.01.2016)

PHRI doctor prevented from visiting hunger striker Muhammad Al-Qeeq

January 28, 2016 – HaEmek Hospital, where hunger striker Muhammad al-Qeeq has been hospitalized for about a month, has prevented yesterday the entrance of a volunteer physician from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI).


On January 11, at the request of al-Qeeq and his family, the organization had made an urgent request to the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to allow an independent physician to visit him immediately.

This request was submitted to the IPS following the hospital management claim that it had no authority to approve or reject such a request.

After the visit was approved and coordinated by the IPS for January 27th, the hospital told PHRI it would not allow the visit, arguing that it did not have a suitable doctor who was available to accompany the visit at the scheduled time.

It made this claim even though the presence of a doctor on behalf of the hospital not only is not required – it contradicts the duty to maintain the patient’s privacy.

International ethical codes emphasize the importance of a medical examination by an independent doctor to create a trusting relationship with the hunger striker in an attempt to reach a life-saving solution.

As Al-Qeeq is now in the 65th day of his hunger strike, this delay can be critical.

According to the Patient’s Rights Act, the hospital is required to help the patient do everything necessary to realize his right to be visited by a physician.

PHRI condemns the HaEmek Hospital’s decision, which reflects the inappropriate conduct that was described by Al-Qeeq until now: the forced treatment and the pressure to end his hunger strike.

In another development, the High Court ruled yesterday that it would not intervene to release Al-Qeeq from administrative detention.

PHRI reiterates its call for his immediate release.

For further information, please contact:
Andrea Barsony
International Advocacy Coordinator
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
052 742 45 14 / andrea@phr.org.il

(Source / 29.01.2016)

UK doctors call for Israel’s removal from World Medical Association

A medic looks at blood stain of a Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli undercover forces during a raid at Al-Ahly hospital in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on November 12, 2015. (Reuters)

A medic looks at blood stain of a Palestinian man who was killed by Israeli undercover forces during a raid at Al-Ahly hospital in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on November 12, 2015

British doctors have called for the removal of Israel from the World Medical Association (WMA) over claims of “medical torture” on Palestinians seeking treatment.

Some 71 UK doctors have started to pressure the WMA to revoke the membership of the Israel Medical Association over claims that “our doctors perform medical torture on Palestinian patients,” said Ze’ev Feldman, the representative of the Israeli doctors, during a Knesset meeting held on the subject of boycotts against Israeli academic institutions on Wednesday.

If the British physicians succeed, the Tel Aviv regime will be banned from taking part in international medical conferences and publishing in journals.

The move follows similar measures launched by scholars around the world over the past few months.

In December, over 200 South African scholars released a statement announcing their support of an academic boycott of Israel.

In November, the American Anthropological Association, the largest professional organization of anthropologists in the world, approved a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Moreover, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, known as BDS, is gaining momentum in US college campuses and churches as well as in many places in Europe. The BDS movement seeks to end the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands.

(Source / 21.01.2016)