Medical supplies sent by Miles of Smiles to enter Gaza soon

Miles for Smiles 34 convoy arrives in the besieged Gaza Strip in an effort to distribute aid on 5 June 2018

Head of Miles of Smiles Delegations Dr Essam Yousef announced yesterday that a shipment of medicines and medical supplies will enter the besieged Gaza Strip soon.

In a press release sent to MEMO, Yousef said that this shipment is worth $100 million and is funded by the Indonesian National Committee for Palestinians (KNRP).

“Thanks to KNRP for their generous donations of $100,000 and thanks to others and each participant,” Yousef said.

READ: New Miles of Smiles convoy heading for Gaza next month

He noted that the second shipment of medical supplies is “to follow shortly”, calling for the people who pledged to fund it to “kindly confirm” their contributions in order to pay for the shipment.

This came after an appeal for donations launched by Miles of Smiles in order to buy urgently needed medical supplies and equipment for besieged Gaza, including wheelchairs, which are in urgent need following Israel’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protest along the Gaza-Israel border fence over the past year.

(Source / 23.04.2019) 

PA stops medical transfers due to lack of funds

counting-us-dollars-usd

US dollars

Palestinian Ministry of Health announced yesterday that it is stopping all medical transfers to Israeli hospitals in response to Tel Aviv  withholding millions of dollars in taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority, Arab48 reported.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health Osama Al-Najjar said: “The decision came in the context of the directions issued by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the different ministries to reduce the relationship with Israel.”

Al-Najjar added that this is part of the response of the Israeli decision to deduct $138 million from the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s tax revenue in a bid to stop prisoners’ stipends.

“The bill of the medical treatment transfers to the Israeli hospitals is about $100 million a year,” he said.

The PA threatened to refuse customs duties altogether if Israel pressed ahead with its decision to make deductions. Senior official of Fatah – the Palestinian faction which dominates the PA – Hussein Al-Sheikh, blamed the US for Israel’s decision, revealing that international financial institutions and banks had begun imposing a financial siege on the PA at the US’ request.

READ: PA loses $350m per year due to Israel treaty violations

(Source / 27.03.2019) 

‘Headaches, fainting’, Palestinian prisoners suffer effects of Israel jamming devices

Art work used by Palestinians during a protest after Israeli forces stormed into Ofer prison beat prisoners in Ramallah on 23 January 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Art work used by Palestinians during a protest after Israeli forces stormed into Ofer prison and beat prisoners in Ramallah on 23 January 2019

Palestinian prisoners are suffering from “depression, headaches and fainting” as a result of the jamming devices installed at a number of Israeli jails in which they are being detained, they said in a statement.

“The dangerous radiation” omitted by the devices are causing these symptoms, the statement continued, adding they fear this is just “the tip of the iceberg”.

Experts have said the devices can lead to “genetic deformities of human cells and cancer”. Forty prisoners who are battling cancer in Ras Al-Eid prison may have contracted the disease as a result of the devices, they added.

READ: PA pays stipends to martyrs’ families and prisoners 

Concluding their statement, the prisoners placed responsibility for their life on the Israeli occupation and stressed that they would not tone down their protests until the devices are removed.

Last week, Palestinian prisoners said Israel’s prison administration had installed jamming devices at a ward in the Ktz’iot Prison causing Palestinian prisoners to suffer from severe headaches.

The devices produce powerful radiation and stop radio and television signals from penetrating in to the area.

News reports have revealed that the devices were sent to Israel from a Chinese firm Decipro Technology Limited. With 40 such units received by Netline Communications Technologies in Tel Aviv on 29 November 2018.

(Source / 07.03.2019)

Slow death for Gaza cancer patients

Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip makes it difficult, if not impossible, for cancer patients to receive treatment. Over the last decade, Israel has controlled and restricted shipments of medicine, among other basic necessities, into Gaza. This often causes severe drug shortages in Gaza hospitals.

“I come to the hospital to receive treatment and I am surprised that there is no treatment,” Sabreen al-Najjar, 40, told The Electronic Intifada. Al-Najjar is one of many cancer patients in Gaza turned away by hospitals due to severe drug shortages. “It is unbelievable. They sentence us to death. A slow death,” she added. With the unreliable availability of medications, many patients try to receive treatment outside Gaza.

Israel denies many of those patients the permits necessary for them to leave the enclave and receive treatment in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or within Israel. More than 1,800 patients were denied permission to cross Erez checkpoint for healthcare in 2018, according to the World Health Organization, compared to approximately 700 denied in 2017.

 (Source / 25.02.2019)

Easing the Suffering of Pregnant Women at Al-Sahaba Clinic in Gaza

22 Feb 8:07 AM

photo: Hind Abu Jahal, a pharmacist at Al Sahaba, talks to a patient.

By Anera.org / Gaza/ PNN

Al Sahaba medical complex in Gaza City specializes in offering medical services to women at reproductive age and beyond. “Most of our patients need constant follow-up and check-ups to monitor the status of their fetus throughout the course of their pregnancy,” says Dr. Ziyad Siam, an obstetrician at Al Sahaba.

Providing proper maternity services in Gaza can present challenges. Dr. Siam points out that the Palestinian territory suffers from continual shortages of medicines and medical supplies. Should complications arise during pregnancy, patients have great difficulty in getting permits to access medical treatment outside of Gaza.

Women in Gaza rely heavily on Al Sahaba, where a large percentage of staff are women. Given the conservative culture of many communities in the area, having access to female medical practitioners is vitally important.

Staff are available to offer counseling and treatment around the clock. One patient comments, “I am more confident about sharing my symptoms with doctors at this center. And I feel that I have the privacy I need to speak freely.”

Anera staff with pharmacist Hind Abu Jahal and obstetrician Dr. Ziyad Siam at Al Sahaba in Gaza.

Anera staff with pharmacist Hind Abu Jahal and obstetrician Dr. Ziyad Siam at Al Sahaba in Gaza.

Heparin is An Essential Drug in Gaza

Esmat, one of the clinic’s patients, suffered two miscarriages before learning that she has a blood-clotting disorder.

“When I first found out [about my condition] I was four weeks pregnant. After the diagnosis I underwent tests and the doctor put me on heparin for the remainder of the pregnancy,” she said.

Heparin is widely used to prevent blood clots and associated complications of pregnancy. As Dr. Siam explains, “The risk is that when a clot forms it can get lodged in the umbilical cord, cutting off blood circulation to the baby. The medication thins out the blood and prevents any clots from forming.”

Dr. Ziyad Siam, an obstetrician at Al Sahaba, talks to a patient.

Dr. Ziyad Siam, an obstetrician at Al Sahaba, talks to a patient.

The donated medicine is made available at no charge to patients at Al Sahaba. Clinic pharmacist Hind Abu Jahal underscores to patients the importance of compliance with the instructed dose of heparin to ensure mother and child safety. Abu Jahal notes that heparin is typically unaffordable for all but a few in Gaza.

Most of the clinic’s patients come from the Al Shati refugee camp and surrounding areas. The “economic situation is tough in Gaza, let alone in the refugee camps where unemployment is probably higher than anywhere else,” Hind comments.

“I am so excited for the baby,” Esmat says cheerfully. “I am due five months from today!”

Human Interest 02/20/19 ANC Youth League Affirms Support For BDS

(Source / 23.02.2019)

First and Only Pediatric Cancer Department to Open in Gaza This Month

16 Feb 6:35 AM

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, on Thursday, held a press conference to announce the opening of the  first and only Pediatric Cancer Department in the Gaza Strip, which is due to be officially opened on 19 February, according to the PNN.

The 24,000 square meter department, named Dr. Musa & Suhaila Nasir Gaza Pediatric Cancer Department, will provide daily health care with 15 beds, 16 rooms for overnight stays, 3 children’s examination rooms, a dental clinic, medical stations, a pharmacy and nursing stations.

The department will also provide a family gathering room and children’s play rooms with TVs, computers, books and toys. In addition, a full kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.

As part of its commitment to ensuring and sustaining services and support for children and their families, PCRF has served as a social worker and project manager in the new section in Gaza.

This is the second department to be opened in Palestine by PCRF, the first being the Huda Al-Masri section for child cancer patients at the Beit Jala Hospital in the West Bank, which was named after a founding member of the organization who died of cancer in 2009.

Huda Al-Masri was married to the Executive Director and co-founder of PCRF, who continued to lead the organization and oversaw the process of building this section to treat children in Palestine in honor of his wife’s human heritage.

According to a statement by PCRF, 100% of children with cancer in Gaza are referred for treatment in hospitals outside the Gaza Strip. In most cases, they can not travel with their loved ones because of the Israeli procedures for granting exit permits from the Gaza Strip. In addition to that the treatment of children is intermittent and may be delayed due to delays in granting permits or not re-issued for follow-up treatment, which leads to the cessation of treatment and affects the health of children.

PCRF was able to raise more than $3 million to build the department and to fully equip it with materials as well as high-quality design, with the help of hundreds of people around the world.

The PCRF is a US NGO with more than 26 years of experience in providing medical services and care for sick and wounded children in the Middle East, regardless of their political status and nationality. The department has been named d. Musa and Suhaila Nasser for children with cancer in Gaza in this name in honor of Dr. Musa and Sahila Nasser, who helped establish the Society in 1991 and in recognition of their humanitarian and leadership efforts.

It was established in 1991 in the United States of America to identify the needs of Arab children in the Middle East. For 26 years, the association has provided medical services and treatments that have saved the lives of thousands of children in the Middle East. In addition to direct medical services for children, the Society is making continuous efforts to find sustainable solutions to medical challenges by training local doctors and providing basic medical infrastructure for local hospitals.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

PCHR: “On International Childhood Cancer Day, Israel and Political Division Deepens Struggle of Children with Cancer in Gaza Strip”

16 Feb 11:04 AM

Ref: 19/2019 – Date: 14 February 2019: International Childhood Cancer Day (ICCD), which was founded in 2002 by Childhood Cancer International (CCI), is celebrated  around the world every year on 15 February to reduce children’s cancer incidence.

This occasion coincides with the deterioration of health conditions in the Gaza Strip and the increasing level of services that cancer patients receive, including children who were deprived of receiving the proper treatment in a clear violation of the children’s right to receive the highest attainable standard of health.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) follow up, patients with cancer in the Gaza Strip, an estimated number of 8500 patients, including 640 children, face difficult health conditions for ongoing lack of medicine, medical supplies and diagnostic and therapeutic devices, shortage of oncologists, and the aggravation of the ongoing electricity crisis in hospitals. The Israeli restrictions imposed on the travel of children with cancer and their companions are considered as prominent obstacles that prevent these children from receiving their proper treatment.

Dr. Mohammed Abu Selmeya, Director of al-Rantissy Hospital for Cancer Treatment, which is the only hospital that provides cancer treatment for children in the Gaza Strip, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the number of children with cancer in the Gaza Strip has reached 640 children whose ages between one month and 12 years. He added that Leukemia is at the forefront of cancers affecting children in the Gaza Strip and then followed by lymphoma and brain cancer.

He stressed that the hospital faces difficulties in providing treatment services to these patients; most prominently is lack of medicines and medical supplies needed for their treatment, considering lack of Chemotherapy as the most serious problem facing these patients.

Abu Selmeya added that the hospital also faces difficulties in referring child patients to receive treatment abroad due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Israeli Authorities on the children in danger of dying for no reason and for long periods up to 3 months.

He elaborated that the Israeli authorities deprive several mothers and fathers of accompanying their children, who suffers from serious health conditions, during their treatment abroad.

Dr. Muneer al-Bursh, Director General of the Pharmacy Department in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the shortage rate of medicines and drugs for treatment of cancer has reached unprecedented levels in 2018 as in July there was a shortage in 42 types of cancer-treatment drugs, i.e. 65% of medicines that cancer patients need.

He added that some of the medicines, which ran out of stocks, were the Chemotherapy drugs and the Neupogen injections used to boost cancer patients’ Immune system.  He elaborated that any delay in giving this medication would lead to complications, especially that cancer treatment is comprised of a 5-medicine protocol and so the lack of any of them would fail the whole treatment process.

He also said that the Israeli ban on the entry of diagnostic radiological devices needed for the diagnosis of cancerous tumors causes delayed detection of these tumors, obstructs the therapeutic intervention, and puts patients’ life at risk.

It should be noted that patients with cancer, especially children, who are referred to receive treatment abroad, face many obstacles that have negatively affected their health conditions.

According to the information available at the Coordination Department in the Ministry of Health, during 2018, the Israeli authorities obstructed the travel of 10,057 patients referred to receive treatment in the hospitals in Israeli or the West Bank.

The Israeli authorities adopt a series of restrictions that deliberately aim at depriving patients of receiving treatment abroad; most significantly depriving patients of traveling without any reason; depriving patients of traveling due to family-related reasons; arresting patients at Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing; blackmailing and bargaining patients to collaborate with the Israeli authorities; interrogating the Patients; delaying responses to their travel permits; disregard for patient’s appointments at hospitals and imposing tightening restrictions on the travel of patients’ companions.

On the other hand, the political division increasingly deteriorate the standard of health services provided by hospitals and medical centers to these residing the Gaza Strip.

The chronic shortage of specialized medical staff and the Palestinian government failing to allocate new posts in hospitals in the Gaza Strip and cutting the salaries to 263 employees working in the Ministry Of Health in Gaza during February, have negatively affected the quality of health services and put patients’ life at risk.

The employees, whose salaries were cut, are the backbone of the health sector in Gaza as they represent 67% of the medical specialists and 28% of the doctors in the Ministry of Health. During the past January, Ministry of Health had to minimize its services and stop operation of some health facilities due to the shortage of fuel needed to operate the generators in hospitals and medical centers in light of the ongoing electricity crisis.

PCHR is deeply concerned over the life of children with cancer in the Gaza Strip. Thus, PCHR:

– appeals the international organizations, including the United Nations specialized agencies, to immediately intervene to provide an immediate assistance for the health sector for guaranteeing the continuation of health facilities’ work in the Gaza Strip, especially the only hospital that provides treatment for cancer patients in the Gaza Strip.

– calls upon the international community to practice pressure on the Israeli authorities in order to end all restrictions imposed on patients’ travel, especially children with cancer who need special care.

– calls upon the international community to pressurize the Israeli authorities in order to allow the entry of all types of medicines and medical supplies into the Gaza Strip, including Radiological diagnostic devices for the diagnosis of cancerous tumors.

– appeals the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume their responsibilities and immediately intervene to guarantee the entry of all types of medicines and medical supplies needed for cancer treatment.

– Calls for the importance of coordination between the department of the Palestinian Health Ministry in each of Ramallah and Gaza to guarantee that every person enjoys their  right to health, including the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

(Source / 16.02.2019)

WHO: $32m Needed to Address Humanitarian Needs in the oPt

11 Feb 3:43 AM

Al-Awda hospital ER team providing emergency care to an injured patient. Credit: UHWC

A new report by WHO shows that, since the start of the mass demonstrations in Gaza, on 30 March, 2018, 261 people have been killed and a total of 27,942 people injured:

“13,174 were treated and discharged from the Trauma Stabilization Points (TSPs) and the remaining 14,768 casualties were transferred to MoH and NGO hospitals. 6,386 people had live ammunition gunshot wounds, of which 5,561 (87%) presented limb gunshot wounds.”

The report additionally said that, as the current fuel reserve for hospitals declines, mitigation measures continue to affect the health system, such as reduced sterilization, diagnostic imaging, cleaning, laundry and catering services. However, the Electricity Distributing Company has connected some of the hospitals with extra grid lines, which has in turn decreased the dependency on fuel to run-backup generators; in addition, ad-hoc donations from various charities have prevented the closure of hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health continues to highlight the potential threat facing the health sector, should the remaining fuel gets completely depleted.

The report added that chronic shortages of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies at all facility levels continue to pose major challenges for health services, saying that the Health Cluster requires $32 million USD to response to humanitarian needs in the oPt.

The Humanitarian Response Plan for the Health Cluster will target 900,000 people out of the 1.2 million identified as acutely in need of humanitarian health assistance.

(Source / 11.02.2019)

Cancer Patients Face Slow Death in Gaza

06 Feb 4:10 AM

About 8515 cancer patients in the Gaza Strip are facing a fate worse than death, as they do not have adequate resources for medical treatment, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reported, according to Al Ray.

On Monday, World Cancer Day, the center published a report about the conditions of cancer patients in Gaza Strip.

The report explained that 607 cases of cancer were recorded among children, which constitutes 7% of the total number.

While the number of female cancer patients reached 4705, constituting 55.3% of the total number.

The center warned of the psychological and physical suffering of patients in Gaza, as a result of the weakness of the possibilities and the permanent shortage of equipment and diagnostic equipment, drugs and the inputs of operating equipment and therapeutic devices.

The center stressed that the big challenge facing cancer patients is the severe shortage in basic medications.

The average rate of deficit in the drugs needed to treat cancer and blood diseases was 58%, during 2018.

Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and the restriction of movement of patients constitute a violation that threatens the lives of patients since it deprives them of access to treatment.

38% of cancer patients in Gaza Strip could not leave Gaza to receive treatment abroad, while 5% of patients were detained.

PCHR documented the deaths of 45 cancer patients, between 2016 and 2018, due to Israeli restrictions, especially at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, in the northern Gaza Strip.

(Source / 06.02.2019)

Urgent: Palestinian prisoner Fares Baroud dies in Israeli prison; prisoners highlight medical neglect

Palestinian prisoner Fares Baroud, 51, from al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza, died on Wednesday, 6 February only hours after being suddenly transferred to intensive care from Ramon prison. Baroud suffers from a number of health conditions, including a hernia and liver disease, and has repeatedly spoken about medical neglect and denial of needed health treatment to Palestinian prisoners.

Earlier, he had lost 80 percent of his sight due to a vision problem; treatment was delayed for four months by the prison administration for his condition. Palestinian prisoners’ associations said that Baroud has been subjected to deliberate medical neglect over the years and that he has been denied necessary medical care that could have sustained his life.

Baroud had been denied family visits for 18 years by the Israeli occupation, including with his mother, Rayya Baroud. Rayya suffered from the same vision condition, losing her sight and her life before seeing her son again. Before her death in 2018 at the age of 85 , she participated every week in the vigils of prisoners’ families outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City, holding her son’s poster and demanding his release and that of his fellow prisoners.

Fares Baroud’s mother Rayya

Imprisoned since 1991, Baroud was one of the prisoners slated to be released in 2013 as part of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Instead, the occupation violated the agreement, refusing to release the final 30 prisoners named, including Baroud.

He participated in numerous hunger strikes and protests during his years in Israeli prison. Most recently, he held an open hunger strike in 2018 against the Palestinian Authority’s cuts to prisoners’ support, particularly those against prisoners from Gaza. After his strike, he suffered severe liver disease, but did not receive prompt medical care. Months later, he required surgery on his liver.

Baroud was held in Ramon prison and had been transferred to multiple prisons over the years. He was repeatedly held in isolation through his 27 years of imprisonment.

Following Baroud’s death, there are reports of widespread anger and rising protest from Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. A closure and lockdown has been imposed at Ramon and Nafha prisons. Baroud is the 218th Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli jails, many due to medical neglect, mistreatment or denial of necessary healthcare.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the loss of Fares Baroud, his life taken away by 28 years of imprisonment and isolation – including 18 painful years of collective punishment for him and his loved ones, denied family visits until the moment of his death. We note that this loss is part of the ongoing and systematic medical neglect and abuse taking place inside Israeli prisons – as we see in recent days with the renewal of administrative detention orders against severely ill Palestinian prisoners Walid Khaled Sharaf and Moataz Obaido, imprisoned without charge or trial while their lives are at risk. We urge all supporters of justice in Palestine to continue to organize to demand freedom and justice for nearly 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails – and freedom and justice for Palestine.

(Source / 06.02.2019)