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54 Palestinians from Gaza died in 2017 awaiting Israeli travel permits

Palestinian children wait to receive travel permits to travel through the Rafah crossing [File photo]

Palestinian children wait to receive travel permits to travel through the Rafah crossing [File photo]

The record low rate of permits issued by Israel for Palestinians seeking vital medical treatment to travel outside the Gaza Strip underlines the urgent need for the Zionist state to end its decade-long closure of the enclave, a group of Palestinian and international rights groups have said in a joint statement. Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) confirmed that 54 Palestinians from Gaza died while they were waiting for Israeli travel permits. They added that a record level of delays by the Palestinian Authority in issuing required approvals last year, as well as Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza have further restricted movement and caused additional suffering to the Palestinian people.

According to the NGOs report, the Israeli authorities approved travel permits for medical reasons for only 54 per cent of those who applied in 2017, the lowest rate since the World Health Organisation (WHO) began collecting statistics in 2008. The WHO reported that 54 Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died last year following the rejection or delays in their travel permit applications.

“We’re seeing Israel increasingly deny or delay access to potentially life-saving cancer and other treatment outside Gaza, with shockingly high numbers of Palestinian patients subsequently dying,” explained Aimee Shalan, the CEO of MAP. “Gaza’s healthcare system, meanwhile, having been subjected to half a century of occupation and a decade of blockade is increasingly unable to meet the needs of its population.”

Read:16 medical centres cease work due to lack of electricity, fuel in Gaza

The NGOs insisted that Israel should lift the unlawful sweeping restrictions on the freedom of movement of people from Gaza, most critically those with significant health problems.

For the past two decades, and especially since 2007 when Israel imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza, Israel has kept Gaza mostly closed, unlawfully depriving its population of basic rights. The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), among others, have declared this policy “collective punishment” and called for Israel to lift its closure. Israel controls all access to and from Gaza, with the exception of the Rafah Crossing via the Egyptian border, and all transport between Gaza and the occupied West Bank, as well as the border between the West Bank and Jordan. The Israeli authorities will not allow the Palestinians in Gaza to rebuild and open their airport — destroyed by Israel in 2001/2 — or build a functional seaport, leaving Palestinians dependent on foreign ports for travel abroad.

Travel through the Erez Crossing, Gaza’s pedestrian route to Israel, the West Bank and the outside world, is limited to what the Israeli military calls “exceptional humanitarian cases,” meaning mainly those with significant health issues and their companions, as well as prominent business people. The gradual decline in Israel’s issue of medical permits, from 92 per cent approval of applications in 2012 to 88.7 per cent in 2013; 82.4 per cent in 2014, 77.5 per cent in 2015, 62.07 per cent in 2016 and 54 per cent in 2017 indicates that Israel has increasingly restricted travel even for “exceptional humanitarian cases,” said WHO. In 2017, travel via Erez accounted for less than 1 per cent of the travel recorded in September 2000.

Palestinians from Gaza missed at least 11,000 scheduled medical appointments in 2017 after the Israeli authorities denied or failed to respond in time to applications for permits. Researchby Al Mezan, supported by MAP, into the cases of 20 Palestinians who died after missing hospital appointments due to denied or delayed travel permits found that 14 had cancer, nine of whom were women. PHRI has highlighted how women in Gaza with cancer have faced heightened obstacles to accessing medical care and consequently expended energy fighting bureaucracy rather than their illness.


The significant decline runs counter to the ever-increasing health needs in Gaza. The besieged territory’s 2 million people endure what the UN labels “a protracted humanitarian crisis.” Amid widespread poverty and unemployment, at least 10 per cent of young children are stunted by chronic malnutrition; up to half of all medicines and medical disposables in Gaza are completely depleted or below one month’s supply; and chronic electricity shortages have caused officials to cut health and other essential services.

The three Israeli military offensives on Gaza since 2008 have also taken a heavy toll on essential infrastructure and further debilitated Gaza’s health system and economy. In light of the control Israel effectively exercises over the lives and welfare of the people of Gaza, the Zionist state continues to maintain ultimate responsibility for ensuring their well-being under the laws governing military occupation, as the ICRC and UN, among others, have recognised.

“It’s unconscionable that Israel prevented so many critically ill people from accessing care that might have saved their lives,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Israel’s continued control over movement into and out of Gaza creates obligations to facilitate – not thwart – humanitarian access.”

Palestinians in Gaza require referral permits to access the more advanced health care in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank, as well as in Israel. The health services most commonly requiring referral outside of Gaza are for oncology, paediatrics, cardiology and heart problems, and haematology. The Israeli authorities state that they can process priority permits in one day, although the typical waiting time averages two weeks, while “regular” cases require 23 days, and often fail to meet this timetable.

The WHO has deemed the ensuing process “neither transparent nor timely,” and the UN coordinator for humanitarian aid and development activities in the occupied Palestinian territory has stated that a “minefield of interviews, paperwork, opaque procedures  and logistical hurdles stand between a cancer patient and his or her urgent treatment.”

The Palestinian Authority’s financial approval of referrals for those in need of essential medical treatment in Gaza also fell in 2017, with at least one subsequent death reported. While the PA approved about 2,000 applications in each of the first three months, this fell to under 500 in June, before increasing to more than 2,000 later in the year amid efforts at Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, according to the WHO. Additionally, the PA’s reduction of essential services to the Gaza Strip between July and December 2017 – including electricity and medical supplies – also undermined Palestinians’ right to health.

Egypt has kept the Rafah Crossing mostly closed for the population in Gaza since 2013, which contributed to restricting access to health care. Before July 2013, more than 4,000 Palestinianstravelled monthly via Rafah for health-related purposes. As a state bordering a territory with a protracted humanitarian crisis, Egypt should facilitate humanitarian access for the population. Nevertheless, ultimate responsibility remains with Israel, the occupying power.

“The Israeli government’s restrictions on movement are directly connected to patient deaths and compounded suffering as ill patients seek permits,” Issam Younis, Director of Al Mezan, pointed out. “These practices form part of the closure and permit regime that prevents patients from a life of dignity, and violates the right to life.” The closure system must be abolished so that patients have safe access to healthcare in Palestinian hospitals in the occupied Palestinian territories and elsewhere, he added. “The victims and their families must have their right to justice and redress upheld.”

(Source / 14.02.2018)

Surgeries suspended at Gaza’s largest hospital

Al-Shifa Hospital

Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Sunday announced that surgeries will be suspended in al-Shifa Hospital, except for emergency cases, due to a cleaners’ strike over unpaid salaries for about five months.

The Ministry said in a statement that it has been decided to postpone all scheduled surgeries, including those for patients with tumors, noting that the decision excluded life-saving surgeries.

The medical staff at al-Shifa Hospital called on all relevant parties to work toward ending the strike immediately as it threatens patients’ lives because of the dangerous accumulation of medical garbage in the hospital.

In a related context, the cleaning company of al-Hilal Hospital in the southern province of Rafah started a strike on Sunday because of the delay in paying its cleaners’ salaries for the fourth month in a row.

This strike would exacerbate the medical crisis hitting the hospital in light of the acute shortage of medicines and equipment.

According to the Ministry, nearly 832 cleaners are employed to work in Gaza’s hospitals and medical centers at a cost of 943,000 shekels per month (11.3 million shekels per year), and they have not received their salaries for four months now.

(Source / 12.02.2018)

Gaza: Newborn dies due to lack of “Calfactant”

Dead of newborn

The Palestinian health ministry said that a four-day-old baby on Thursday joined the convoy of victims who had died as a result of their need for vital medicines unavailable in Gaza hospitals.

According to a statement by the ministry, four-day-old Karam Abu Awwad, from Beit Lahia, died due to the absence of a special respiratory medicine called “Calfactant” that helps premature infants to breathe normally.

In this regard, the nursery department at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has appealed to the competent authorities to urgently provide Gaza hospitals with medicines needed for newborns, especially the Calfactant.

This type of medication is one of many vital medicines that became out of stock in Gaza.

The same hospital had already seen the death of five premature infants after failure to provide them with this drug.

(Source / 10.02.2018)

113 infants in Gaza face risk of death due to drug shortage

113 kids at risk

Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Saturday warned that the lives of dozens of premature babies are in real danger after hospitals have run out of a much-needed drug for their case.

Spokesman for the Ministry, Ashraf al-Qedra, told Quds Press that the lack of Calfatant drug which is essential for the growth of preterm infants’ respiratory system has raised the number of deaths among Gaza babies to five since the beginning of 2018.

Al-Qedra said that 113 newborn babies in Gaza’s hospitals are facing the risk of death due to the depletion of 45% of live-saving drugs and the deterioration of power crisis.

Naser Bolbol, the head of the neonatal intensive care department at al-Shifa Hospital, told Quds Press that the four-day-old Karam Abu Awwad was the latest victim of the absence of Calfatant drug which provides the respiratory system with the needed amount of oxygen.

In the past few days, 20 backup generators stopped working in several health facilities in Gaza due to the acute fuel shortage in the besieged area. Three hospitals in addition to other health facilities have been shut down.

(Source / 10.02.2018)

UAE, Qatar donate funds to stave off Gaza health crisis

Palestinian conjoined twins, born only a day ago, are seen in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city on 22 October 2017 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian conjoined twins, born only a day ago, are seen in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city on 22 October 2017

The United Arab Emirates has donated $2 million and Qatar has pledged another $9 million to the besieged Gaza Strip, staving off a threatened shut-down of emergency hospital generators in the impoverished Palestinian enclave, officials said on Friday.

The United Nations had appealed for funds on Tuesday, saying fuel for generators that keep Gaza’s hospitals and sanitation services operating would run out within 10 days.

The World Health organisation announced the UAE donation in a statement, saying it would “provide enough fuel to keep facilities running for several months”. Qatar’s pledge was announced on its Foreign Ministry website.

UN: Power crisis brings Gaza to ‘verge of disaster’

So far generators have stopped at three of Gaza’s 13 hospitals and 14 of its 54 medical centres, according to the enclave’s health ministry.

Gaza’s neighbours, Egypt and Israel, have long clamped down on its borders, a blockade they say is needed for security.

A US decision to cut aid to the United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, also threatens to deepen hardship in Gaza.

(Source / 10.02.2018)

World Health: 54 Patients Died Awaiting Security Approval for Medical Referrals Out of Gaza

07 FEB
10:01 PM

World Health Organizations (WHO) has released its monthly report for December of 2017, which revealed the following, according to the PNN:  

– 2017 the lowest rate for approvals since WHO began active monitoring in 2008: 54% of patient applications to exit Gaza via Erez were successful. There has been a continuous decline in approval rates since 2012, when approximately 93% of patient applications were successful.

– 54 patients died while awaiting security approval for referrals out of Gaza: Approximately 85% of the patients who died while awaiting security permits had been referred for cancer investigations or treatment.

– In December, 48% of patients unsuccessful in obtaining security permits from Israeli authorities: From 2,170 patient applications 52.4% were approved; 2.6% denied; and 45.0% delayed, receiving no definitive response from Israeli authorities by the date of hospital appointment.

– Three in five patient companions unsuccessful in obtaining permits to travel out of Gaza: There were 2,507 permit applications for patient companions submitted to Israeli authorities in December. 40.5%were approved, 3.6% were denied and 55.9% were delayed, still pending by the date of the patient’s hospital appointment.

– Security interrogation of patients: 11 patients (7 males; 4 females) were requested for interrogation by Israeli General Security Services at Erez during December. Five were approved permits to travel for health care.

– Financial coverage for health care: 1,784 requests for financial coverage for Gaza patients were approved by the Services Purchasing Unit of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in December 2017.   

– Limited access to Egypt: Rafah terminal was open for four days in both directions. 183 patients exited Gaza to seek medical care. No medical aid and no medical delegates entered Gaza via Rafah during the month. 

(Source / 08.02.2018)

DIGIDOCTOR – Toeval Bestaat Niet

E-Health Solutions

Lief gewaardeerd netwerk,

Ik wil jullie vandaag meenemen in mijn business journey, waarbij ik ga ik aantonen dat toeval niet bestaat… Hoe je als je je passie volgt, alles op je pad vindt dat je nodig hebt, ook al is het niet altijd wat je wilt 😉

DigiDoctor Sabine Fonderson

Een tijdje geleden kreeg ik via ons gedeelde netwerk contact met Dr. Sabine Fonderson, de founder van DigiDoctor Ltd, een gedreven arts, en Heart Worker.

Niet wetende van elkaars achtergrond, vroeg ze me of ik interesse had om eens te kijken naar haar Startup. Ik gaf haar mijn nummer en we spraken af elkaar snel even te bellen…

Onverwachte Connectie

Tijdens het telefoongesprek bleken we al snel een connectie met elkaar te hebben, echter hoe diep deze connectie gaat, zou pas duidelijk worden tijdens onze face-2-face gesprek…

Wie mijn eerdere posts heeft gelezen, weet dat een terugkerende “story in my life” kankeris… Laat dit ons nou ook verbinden! Naast dat ik passievol ben over alle innovaties binnen de geneeskunde, bleek al heel snel dat Allah swt, ons nader heeft gebracht… Nog nooit heb ik tijdens een business meeting, met 3 andere business partners huilend aan tafel gezeten, we ontdekten van elkaar dat wij allemaal te maken hebben gehad met deze ziekte op een of andere manier, en dat dit onze gemene deler was!

Het verhaal achter DigiDoctor

Sabine Fonderson: “Mijn opa kwam naar Nederland in de jaren 80 als ambassadeur van Kameroen. Bijna 20 jaar later toen ik net als arts afstudeerde van het LUMC, kreeg ik te horen dat hij prostaatkanker had. Enkele dagen voordat hij terug naar zijn vaderland zou keren om een eind aan zijn diplomatieke carrière te maken, kreeg hij van een arts in een privé kliniek in Londen te horen dat de kanker al uitgezaaid was naar zijn botten. Sterker nog, zonder chemotherapie, was de verwachting dat hij hooguit 3 maanden van zijn leven nog kon ‘genieten’.”

“Kort nadat ik mijn eerste baan kreeg als basisarts heb ik een stagebureau opgericht. Met als doel medische studenten naar Kameroen te sturen om daar stage te lopen. Natuurlijk ging ik twee keer per jaar mee met een aantal studenten en zodoende werd de band tussen mijn opa en mij steeds sterker.”

“Wij zouden eerst via Skype (en later Whatsapp) urenlang praten, want hij was vooral geïnteresseerd over nieuwste technologische ontwikkelingen en wat ik allemaal wist over o.a. zijn bloeddruk medicatie. Wat mij zo opviel is dat hij alleen maar over zijn gezondheid ging praten en nooit over zijn ziekte. Hij overleed in juli 2017, bijna 10 jaar nadat hij zijn prognose kreeg.”

Samenwerking DigiDoctor – STIMS MEDIA GROUP

Dit verhaal raakte me hard, want de passie van Sabine om hierdoor DigiDoctor te starten, lag geheel in lijn met mijn levensvisie: “Het verbeteren van de levenskwaliteit van de mensen om ons heen”.

Deze emotioneel geladen ontmoeting, werd al snel een prachtige vriendschap en samenwerking, vanuit mijn functie als marketeer en als programmamaker bij STIMS MEDIA GROUP, maar ook als confidant elkaar, waarbij tijd of plaats geen rol meer leek te spelen! Soms midden in de nacht spreken we elkaar, over werk, prive en gezinsleven. Over ups & downs, die we mee maken of mee hebben gemaakt…

DigiDoctor – Waarom ik hier met passie aan mee werk

De gedachte achter DigiDoctor, het verbinden van patienten en “alternatieve” geneeskunde, wereldwijd. Toen het concept me duidelijk werd, was het eerste wat ik dacht: “Masha’Allah, gelukkig is de technologie zover dat zoiets bedacht kan worden, had ik dit maar toen mijn ex-vrouw ziek werd!”

Hierdoor besefte ik al heel snel, de impact en implicaties van een dergelijk platform en wat dit gaat betekenen voor de globale mensheid! Een consult bij een arts, met een druk op de knop! Overal te wereld! Hamdullilah, dit is geniaal!

Wat is DigiDoctor?

Sabine Fonderson: “DigiDoctor is het enige platform dat mensen kan verbinden met artsen die complementaire geneeskunde beoefenen. Op deze manier ligt de focus op gezond blijven en preventief ziekten behandelen.”

Een holistische benadering ‘anytime, anywhere’ met drie doelen:

  1. Medisch advies aan patiënten leveren door gekwalificeerde artsen.
  2. Barrières tussen cultuur en taal zoveel mogelijk weg te nemen om miscommunicatie bij zowel arts en patiënt en te voorkomen.
  3. Op een beveiligd platform patiënten met artsen te verbinden via video, call of chat functie.

Wat is DigiDoctor niet?

Sabine Fonderson: “Het vervangt niet de traditionele vorm van geneeskunde of contact tussen artsen en patienten. Integendeel! Digidoctor is een aanvullende datalogistieke dienstverlening voor mensen die toch even iets kwijt willen over hun medische klacht en op zoek zijn naar “alternatief” medisch advies.”

“In het feite is DigiDoctor een hulpmiddel voor preventieve geneeskunde en advisering op globaal niveau.”

Wat nu?

Sabine Fonderson: “Binnen 3 maanden dat ik op het idee kwam van DigiDoctor zijn er heel veel dingen gebeurd in mijn leven. De belangrijkste mijlpaal is dat ik naar Silicon Valley mag gaan.”

“Op 10 Januari kreeg ik te horen dat van alle start-ups wereldwijd, DigiDoctor door Google-Entrepreneurs uitgekozen is om te komen presenteren op de Google Startup Grinder!”

“Gedurende 3 dagen (12, 13 en 14 Februari) mag ik mijn verhaal gaan vertellen en daarnaast krijg ik de mogelijkheid om te netwerken en investeerders binnen te halen om van dit idee REALITEIT te maken”.

Mijn Rol binnen dit geheel

Ik ben Dr. Sabine Fonderson en DigiDoctorheel dankbaar om deel uit te mogen maken van deze ontwikkelingen, en zet me dan ook elke dag met plezier in voor het op de markt zetten en verbinden van business partners om dit geheel tot een prachtig succes te maken.

Haar passie en inzet werken inspirerend, en gedachte aan alle mensen die zij met haar ingenieuze platform gaat helpen, geven me hoop dat er in de toekomst vele levens verbeterd en gered gaan worden.

Ik zal dan ook in de rol van Global Investor Recruiter en in mijn rol als Programma Maker, er alles aan doen om naamsbekendheid, public awareness en connecties & opportunities te manifesteren ten behoeve van de groei van DigiDoctor Ltd.

Zoals jullie misschien hebben begrepen, een dergelijke ontmoeting is geen toeval… Een connectie op dit niveau vinden en krijgen is al zeer uniek te noemen, echter alles valt samen met het levenspad dat zowel Sabine als ik afzonderlijk hebben gekozen.

Op het moment dat je je hart volgt, zal God de deuren voor je openen en nieuwe vriendschappen zullen ontstaan uit een onverwachte hoek!

Wat kan jij doen om ons hierin te ondersteunen?

Iedereen kan ons hierbij helpen, van artsen, tot zorg professionals tot aan patienten. Schrijf je in op ons platform en maak gebruik van deze technologie, promoot ons binnen je netwerk of kom samen met mij werken als Investor/Healthcare Recruiter.

Ken jij iemand of ben jij iemand met een passie voor recruitment binnen de lifesciences branche, of een hollistisch arts, die interesse heeft mee te werken aan deze revolutie binnen de geneeskunde?

Tag diegene dan in de Comments!

Delen en Liken wordt zoals altijd zeer gewaardeerd, want Sharing is Caring!

#SharingisCaring #DigiDoctor #HolisticMedicine

Je kan ons bereiken voor vragen op:

Sabine Fonderson

Chief Medical Information Officer

Tel: +31 6 11 80 17 07

Whatsapp: +44 7460 277 577



(Source / 04.02.2018)

Ministry: Gaza’s health system close to collapse

Health system Gaza

Spokesman for Gaza’s Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qedra, on Friday said that Gaza’s health system is on the verge of collapse as hospitals in the besieged territory are expected to face a total power blackout by the end of February.

Al-Qedra said in a press statement that the Ministry has been forced to cut back on some basic services in an effort to optimize the use of the remaining amount of fuel.

According to al-Qedra, the Palestinian Authority (PA) government two weeks ago announced the allocation of one million shekels for the fuel needed to operate Gaza’s hospitals for ten days, yet no actual steps have been witnessed on the ground. He pointed out that such grant requires at least 3 months of coordination with the UN bodies.

He called on all Palestinian and concerned parties to work to save health institutions in Gaza.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health in the past few days has been forced to close a hospital and seven medical centers due to the acute fuel shortage plaguing the Gaza Strip and the PA government’s failure to fulfill its responsibilities of providing fuel and medical supplies to the Ministry.

(Source / 02.02.2018)

Seven more healthcare centres in Gaza shut down

Huge amounts of fuel needed to operate electricity generators to compensate lack of electricity caused by Israeli siege

Gaza is heading to real disaster as seven more healthcare centres in Gaza Strip closed their doors on Thursday due to tightening 11-year-old Israeli siege.

According to the Palestinian ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, fuel ran out in seven more healthcare centres in different areas across Gaza.

“This problem, which is a result of the Israeli sieged, happened due to the lack of fuel needed to operate electricity generators,” a statement by the ministry said.

Earlier this week, the ministry announced that Beit Hanoun Children’s Hospital in the north of Gaza Strip had closed its doors due to the lack of fuel.

Spokesman of the Ministry in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra said: “There is no horizon for solving this crisis with the Israeli occupation authorities or the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.”

(Source / 01.02.2018)

WHO: Fuel in Gaza hospitals is about to run out

WHO fuel Gaza

Head of World Health Organization (WHO) in the Palestinian territories, Gerald Rockenschaub, warned of the continuation of the fuel shortage crisis in Gaza hospitals and health facilities, alerting that they will be running out of fuel by the end of February or at maximum during the month of March.

In a press statement following a meeting with Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in Gaza on Wednesday, Rockenschaub said that the conditions in Gaza hospitals are too difficult. He pointed out that the measures taken by the Ministry are tough but necessary in order to save the lives of people until the crisis is resolved.

He said that his organization is exerting intensive efforts for coming up with a solution to the crisis.

(Source / 31.01.2018)