The medicine crisis

GAZA, (PIC)– The medicine crisis in the Gaza Strip announced by the Health Ministry in early June has continued to mount amid accusations that the West Bank health ministry has been withholding medicines Gaza is entitled to.

Officials in Gaza say they have yet to see their due 40 percent cut of the medicines provided to the split Palestinian territories by the World Bank.

Among the greatest affected by the shortage are kidney patients, cancer patients, children, and patients awaiting surgery.

Abdul-Lateef al-Zaeem, 40, who has experienced kidney failure for the past six years said he is required to visit the hospital three times a week for dialysis. He said many times there is a shortage of medicines in the Gaza’s Shifa hospital.

“I and many dialysis patients are forced to buy medicines that help sustain our health condition. But it doesn’t help. Also the financial status of the patients does not help to continue purchasing medicines at our own expense,” Zaeem said.

Um Saeed, a mother whose 13-year-old son has been on bed rest for weeks from an acute infection, wondered: “How long will the lives of Gaza’s people remain in the hands of those who bring them medicine, food, and basic supplies? As if humans today live on basics and pay no attention to the necessities that are now the heart of ordinary life. When will conditions of the Strip’s patients end, as they are under siege with a medical crisis, an electricity crisis, an equipment crisis, and a crisis in being transferred abroad to get treatment?

“It’s as if they have chosen for these people several scenarios for death. Has the national, Arab, and international conscience died?

Munir al-Bersh, the Gaza health ministry’s director-general of pharmaceuticals, said a portion of entitled medicines are scheduled to arrive in the Gaza Strip within the next few days.
Bersh said the health ministry has contacted organizations both at home and abroad in a bid to pressure the health ministry in the West Bank to dispatch Gaza’s share of medicines provided by the World Bank.

He said medical security in Gaza has been steadily declining, as more and more medicines run out daily. The situation signals a medical disaster should the crisis continue, he warned.
“For a long time, no medicines or medical consumables that have run out in the health ministry’s warehouses had been supplied,” Bersh said, putting the current number of missing medicines at 180 and of medical consumables at 149.

Bersh also pointed out that the Strip is experiencing an acute shortage of imported fuels used to operate the power generators. Only a quarter of the required fuels are anywhere to be found in the Gaza Strip, he said.

(Facebook / 08.08.2011)

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