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UN experts say Gaza health care at “breaking point”

Health care Gaza

UN human rights experts have backed calls for a large-scale international response to the overwhelming health care needs of people living in Gaza.

They also remind Israel, as the occupying power, of its obligation to protect the population of Gaza, ensure its welfare and wellbeing, and to allow and facilitate access to health care to people in need.

Health care in Gaza – already precarious in the wake of an 11-year blockade by Israel and periods of non-cooperation by the Palestinian Authority – has been further impacted by the high rate of casualties from Israeli military fire on Gazan protesters since late March.

“We are deeply worried by credible reports that treating, and caring for, the thousands of Gazans wounded by Israeli military fire over the past 12 weeks has strained Gaza’s already overloaded health care system to the breaking point,” said the experts.

According to the Ministry of Health, almost 8,000 Gazan protesters have been admitted to hospital, with more than 3,900 wounded by live ammunition. Many have sustained permanent injuries, including limb amputations. “It is unacceptable that many of those requiring care, which is not currently available in Gaza, have been denied exit permits to access healthcare outside of Gaza,” the experts said.

Out of the 93 applications submitted by Gazans to the Israeli authorities to access health care in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, only 24 were approved. Forty-nine were denied and 20 are still pending. “Denial of access to urgent health care to seriously wounded Gazans outside the strip is a violation of the right to health,” said the experts.

The experts said that hospital patients in Gaza have been discharged prematurely to allow for new casualties to be treated. About 6,000 elective surgeries have been postponed. Essential medicines are running short, specialised surgical care is running short and long-term rehabilitation services are being severely strained by the many Gazans with limb amputations and serious injuries. The disabling impact on the injured and the financial cost to them, their families and to the Gazan health services is huge and long-term, they said.

While international fund-raising has gathered more than $US6 million to meet some of the immediate needs, almost $US13 million still needs to be raised, the experts said. The funds are required to deploy emergency medical teams, to ensure pre-hospital care by trauma teams, to purchase much-needed medicines and to enhance the rehabilitative services for post-operative casualties.

“This sum is a fraction of the more than $500 million requested to meet the humanitarian needs of Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory,” the experts said. “We urge the world to be generous.”

The UN experts praised the response by international and local health NGOs and UN agencies to the crisis in Gaza. They pointed to the work of these organisations to provide the timely delivery of health care teams, medicines, health supplies and assistive devices.

Gaza is suffering from a long-term health crisis. The Israeli blockade, three devastating wars, a harmful split in Palestinian unity and poorly paid health workers has meant that the availability of medical services and hospitals beds are seriously inadequate to service the many health needs of the two million Gazans. A meager electrical power supply, a badly-depleted water aquifer, the inability to treat sewage and the world’s highest unemployment rates have only intensified the social-health crisis.

“We endorse the call of the UN Secretary-General for Israel to end its unlawful blockade and to be an active partner to enabling Gaza to rebuild its economy and resuscitate its health care sector,” said the human rights experts. “The short-term responses to Gaza’s current health crisis must go hand-in-hand with decisive steps to change Gaza’s future for the better.

“In addition to its obligations under International Humanitarian Law as the occupying power, Israel has the obligation to respect and ensure the respect of the human rights of the people in Gaza, including their right to health. The Palestinian authorities also bear human rights obligations towards the population of Gaza.”

(Source / 21.06.2018)

UN: No decline in infant mortality in Gaza for last decade

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

In a new report published yesterday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) “warned that infant mortality has not declined for the last decade in Gaza Strip”, reported Xinhua.

According to UNRWA, “the infant mortality rate among Palestinian refugees in Gaza was 22.7 per 1,000 live births, within the same range of the previously reported rate of 22.4 per 1,000 live births in 2015 and 20.2 per 1,000 live births from the study conducted in 2006.”

“The Palestine refugees account for more than 70 per cent of the entire populations in Gaza. Infant mortality is a barometer of the health of an entire population,” commented Director of UNRWA’s Health Department, Dr Akihiro Seita.

“This finding needs our attention since the ultimate goal is to maintain a continuing decline of infant mortality and to stop preventable infant deaths,” said Seita.

Read: Baby in serious condition after Israel shells Gaza

UNRWA, in line with other UN agencies and humanitarian groups, stressed the role of Israel’s ongoing occupation and blockade in the deterioration of Gaza’s economy and health sector.

“It is reasonable to assume that the unstable power supply, the deteriorating functionality of medical equipment, the periodic shortages of essential drugs and medical consumables have had an impact on the quality of medical care with a consequent impact on infant mortality,” UNRWA added.

The Gaza Strip has ensured an 11-year long Israeli siege which has limited the entry of food, good and the supply of electricity. The UN has previously warned that Gaza would become “uninhabitable” by 2020.

(Source / 14.06.2018)

Army Attacks Palestinian Medics In Bethlehem

10 JUN
10:03 AM

Israeli soldiers attacked, on Saturday evening, a Palestinian ambulance crew while they were trying to rescue persons who were injured in a traffic accident near the illegal Gush Etzion colonialist block, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Mohammad Awad, the head of the Emergency Department of the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said its ambulance rushed to a site of a traffic accident, between a Palestinian car and an Israeli car, near the colony, but the soldiers stopped them near and ordered them not to approach the wounded.

The medics insisted on performing their humanitarian duty, before the soldiers assaulted them, wounding one of them, identified as Jamal al-Balboul, 51, who was beaten up and pushed around by the soldiers, who also pointed their guns at the medics.

Awad said that this type of behavior by the soldiers is one of the constant Israeli violations against all related international laws that grant protection to medical teams at all times.

The Red Crescent said two Palestinians from Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, were injured in the traffic accident, and were later moved to a hospital in the city.

(Source / 10.06.2018)

49% of Gaza’s drugs have ran out, says ministry

Medication supplies in the Gaza Strip have reached dangerously low levels after the decision was made to stop providing hospital and health centres, on 23 May, 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Medication supplies in the Gaza Strip have reached dangerously low levels after the decision was made to stop providing hospital and health centres, on 23 May, 2017

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip has warned of a severe shortage in the basic health services provided to Palestinians in the enclave.

“Forty-nine per cent of the essential medicines and 29 per cent of the medical supplies in Gaza have run out,” the ministry’s pharmacy department announced yesterday.

Gaza faces a severe shortage in primary health care services and the availability of drugs for dialysis, heart catheterisation and open heart, the ministry added.

Read: Israel army smears slain medic Razan Al-Najjar with edited video clip

The enclave’s pharmaceutical sector, the ministry pointed out, lacks 53 per cent of its monthly requirement, while the medical tasks sector lacks 21 per cent of its monthly requirement.

The ministry also warned of the occupied city’s poor conditions in the primary care services, which it said currently faces a shortage of over 63 per cent.

(Source / 08.06.2018)

Morocco to send medical team to Gaza

Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the Gaza and Israel border during the ninth consecutive week of protests, organised as part of the Great March of Return, on 25 May 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Israeli forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the Gaza and Israel border during the ninth consecutive week of protests, organised as part of the Great March of Return, on 25 May 2018

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI decided yesterday to send a medical team to the besieged Gaza Strip in order to provide medical treatment to the victims of the Great March of Return, following a request by the head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh.

Haniyeh’s media office declared in a press statement that Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani had informed the Palestinian official of the King’s decision.

Arrangements will be made with Egypt to ensure the medical team is able to enter the Strip, the statement added.

Without Palestine, the Arabs are not a nation at all

In a telephone call with Othmani on Sunday, Haniyeh called on Morocco “to provide urgent medical assistance to the victims of the Return Marches, especially as the occupation is deliberately inflicting casualties among the Palestinian people to discourage them from participating in the marches.”

More than 116 Palestinians were killed and more than 13,000 were injured during peaceful protests held near the Gaza-Israel border fence. Israel tested new weaponry on the protesters and inflicted severe injuries, with many demonstrators seeing their limbs amputated as a result.

(Source / 29.05.2018)

Israel demolition order for medical facilities in Hebron

Israeli occupation forces issued demolition orders for the residential and agricultural structures including a clinic in Yatta, south of Hebron [File photo]

Israeli occupation forces issued demolition orders for the residential and agricultural structures including a clinic in Yatta, south of Hebron

The Israeli occupation forces yesterday issued demolition orders for the residential and agricultural structures including a clinic in Yatta, south of Hebron.

The coordinator of the anti-settlement and wall committee in Yatta, Rateb Al-Jubour told Quds Press that the Israeli forces raided the area of Shaab El-Butm, east of the city of Yatta, and handed the citizens four demolition orders under the pretext of building without a permit.

Al-Jubour explained that the demolition notices included a medical clinic belonging to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The area is inhabited by a group of Palestinian families who depend on agriculture and sheep herding. The area is constantly attacked by Jewish settlers and there have been numerous attempts to seize their land.

(Source / 23.05.2018)

Israel segregates Arab, Jewish women in maternity wards

Image of a Palestinian baby receiving medical treatment in Gaza on 19 February 2014 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

A Palestinian baby can be seen receiving treatment in Gaza on 19 February 2018

In at least four Israeli hospitals, Arab women are separated from Jewish women in maternity wards, Haaretz newspaper reported.

In a report based on testimonies collected from the four hospitals, the paper said the segregation policy has become the norm, explaining that the hospitals segregate the mothers either at their request of because they deem it right.

According to the paper, the testimonies were collected from women who gave birth at the Hadassah University Hospital, Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem; Haemek in Afula; Nahariya’s Western Galilee Hospital in and Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and who were victims of the segregation policy.

“We are trying to make separate rooms because the culture is really different and the visit hours,” the paper quoted a hospital nurse as saying during a recorded phone call. “We feel very strongly that there is one person, and there is a clan, We try, we can’t say 100 per cent, but on days that there’s no pressure, we arrange separate accommodations [for people speaking] different languages,” she added.

According to Haaretz, four Arab women filed a class demanding  the hospitals end the policy and compensate those who were subjected to it, they believe the Ministry of Health is aware of the policy but turns a blind eye to it.

“The subject of segregation in maternity wards has been in the headlines for a long time; it was in the Knesset, it was in the press, it’s not something new,” the reported quoted Professor Alon Klement, Israel’s most prominent class-action attorney and the clinic’s academic supervisor, saying.

It is estimated that 1.8 million Arabs live in Israel; 20 per cent ​​of the population.

Israeli nurse breastfeeds hospitalised Palestinian baby

(Source / 21.05.2018)

Medecins du Monde condemns Israel’s use of force against civilians in Gaza

Médecins du Monde volunteers seen working with refugees in Brussels [Le Soir]

Médecins du Monde volunteers seen working with refugees in Brussels

Médecins du Monde (MDM) Chapters working in Palestine yesterday expressed their deepest concern regarding Israel’s violent response against Palestinian civilians demonstrating near the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, the MDM said: “In the short span of only six Fridays, the Israeli army has killed 45 Palestinians, including four children, and injured more than 7,930 civilians protesting for their right to return.”

Highlighting a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the MDM added that more than 99 healthcare staff have been injured and 18 ambulances damaged as a result of Israel’s violent response to the unarmed protesters.

“So far, the hospitals in Gaza have treated 4,045 victims with severe injuries, 18 per cent of them are under age and less than half of the urgent patients requiring referral to other hospitals outside Gaza have received the necessary exit permit from Israel,” the statement said.

Read: The Maiming Fields of Gaza

It added: “The high number of emergency cases is challenging hospitals’ capacity and putting on hold thousands of elective surgeries.”

The MDM said:

The excessive use of force against Palestinians demonstrating in Gaza is a violation of the right to life, health and freedom of assembly.

According to the statement, the MDM said: “To this date, the use of live ammunition has severely injured 2,178 civilians. The majority of gunshot wounds have been to lower limbs, causing severe orthopaedic and vascular injuries leaving hundreds of the victims handicapped.”

The statement stated that the crisis in Gaza “comes on top of a protracted situation,”, noting that “for over 11 years the Israeli government has imposed a strict land, air and sea military blockade to Gaza.”

This, it added, “qualified as a violation of international humanitarian law, this collective punishment has had disastrous consequences on the daily life of millions of Palestinians.”

“While the availability of goods is the most visible aspect, the impacts of the blockade are ubiquitous along the Strip and felt every single day.”

MDM noted that the health services in particular are constantly struggling to cope with the increasing problems as “water pollution and lack of potable water represent an imminent risk of waterborne diseases, almost half of the essential drugs and disposables are constantly unavailable and electricity cuts limit the regular provision to four hours, and therefore hampering the quality and services primary health centres and hospitals provide.”

The three MDM Chapters in Palestine, namely Doctors of the World France, Spain and Switzerland, “condemn Israel’s excessive use of force against healthcare staff and civilians demonstrating in the Gaza Strip since March 30 and adhere to the international call for an independent investigation of each incident.”

“MDM chapters call for the absolute respect to the right to health, in particular eliminating any obstacle to access to health services outside the Gaza strip.”

They urged the European Union to take concrete measures in order to implement the EU Parliament resolution 2018/2663(RSP) calling for the immediate and unconditional end to the blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 08.05.2018)

Due To Large Number Of Injuries, P.A Health Ministry Delays 4000 Scheduled Surgeries

25 APR
5:31 AM

The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip has announced delaying 4000 scheduled surgeries for patients in the coastal region due to the excessively high number of Palestinians who were shot by the Israeli army during the “Great March of Return Protests.”

The Ministry said the patients who have scheduled surgeries were official informed of postponing their medical procedures due to the large number of Palestinians, injured by Israeli army fire.

The head of the General Administration of Gaza hospitals, Abdul-Latif al-Haj, said the wounded Palestinians, and due to the varying nature of their injuries, consume more medical supplies than ordinary patients, especially sterilized bandages, stitches, and surgery tools, in addition to various sorts of antibiotics, IV solutions, and anti-coagulants.

He said that the number of external bone fixation devices used on patients who suffered gunshot wounds, since March 30th, is more than the average amount for an entire year.

It is worth mentioning that the army have killed 39 Palestinians, and shot more than 25000 others, since the nonviolent protests started in the Gaza Strip on Palestinian Land Day, March 30 2018.

(Source / 25.04.2018)

Medical delegation from 1948 occupied Palestine arrives in Gaza

Doctor delegation Gaza

The government information office in Gaza on Friday refuted Israeli allegations that an Israeli eight-doctor delegation arrived in Gaza ahead of expected Friday protests.

Head of the office Salama Ma’rouf said in a press statement that the medical delegation is composed of Palestinian doctors coming from the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

Ma’rouf explained that Israel’s efforts to beautify its image through “cheap propaganda” are a failed attempt to evade responsibility for all crimes committed against peaceful protesters in Gaza.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health announced that it had received a Palestinian medical delegation from Physicians for Human Rights organization headed by Dr. Salah Haj Yahya.

The Ministry thanked Physicians for Human Rights for responding to its call and sending a medical delegation that would help provide treatment to Gaza-based Palestinians and offer some medical training.

At least 34 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,000 injured by Israeli gunfire in the daily Return protests which started on 30th March along Gaza’s border with the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.

(Source / 13.04.2018)