Gaza's hospitals struggle with lack of capacity amid Israeli violence

Published 16.11.2018 00:15
Updated 16.11.2018 00:18
Israel's long-lasting blockade on Gaza has created chronic shortages in Palestinian health facilities.
Israel's long-lasting blockade on Gaza has created chronic shortages in Palestinian health facilities.

Gaza's hospitals are rapidly losing their functional capacity in a health system already overwhelmed by shortages of medicine and many Palestinian casualties due to ongoing Israeli violence in the besieged enclave

Struggling to cope with high Palestinian casualties due to Israeli cycle of violence, hospitals in the blockaded Gaza face severe suffering of medical staff and patients in the face of cutbacks and funding crises.

"The health care sector has been suffering from a severe shortage of funding for years, and the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for 12 years has prevented access to basic goods, supplies and medicines," the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, said during a visit to Gaza's biggest hospital, Al-Shifa hospital, where dozens of victims of Israeli violence often undergo years of treatment. "The only way out of this situation is to find a political solution, and until then support for basic life-saving services in Gaza must be increased," he added.

The humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is deteriorating further as hospitals struggle to cope with many casualties after protests on the Gaza-Israel border began on March 30. The Israeli cycle of violence in the blockaded Gaza Strip has killed at least 14 Palestinians since Sunday. Since the rallies began, more than 220 Palestinians have been killed, and thousands more were injured by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone. Gaza's health system of 13 public hospitals and 14 clinics run by NGOs had buckled under persistent blockade-linked shortages of medicines and surgical supplies. Due to the ongoing increase in the number of patients, the Al-Shifa hospital was obliged to postpone about 8000 surgical operations for cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.

Israel's long-lasting blockade of the Gaza Strip has created chronic shortages in Palestinian health facilities. Lately, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza stressed that the health of hundreds of patients in Gaza are in danger as the besieged enclave has been suffering from medicine shortages. Around half of the medicines needed are in short supply, according to Palestinian Deputy Minister of Health Yousef Abu-Rish.

Cancer patients in Gaza are unable to receive treatment due to severe shortages in chemotherapy drugs, part of a growing humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave. The spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Eşref al-Kudra, warned earlier that the drugs used for the treatment of cancer patients in Al-Rantisi hospital have run out; thus, treatment in the hospital was stopped, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA). Al-Rantisi hospital is the only health institution where cancer patients are treated in Gaza.

Israel controls all access to and from the Gaza Strip apart from the Palestinian enclave's crossing with Egypt. Hamas is in power in the strip and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008. Under an Israeli blockade for more than 10 years, Gaza lacks infrastructure and key medical equipment. Many patients seek to travel elsewhere for treatment.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has gutted its economy and deprived its roughly 2 million inhabitants of many vital commodities, including food, fuel and medicine. In the long-embargoed enclave, the humanitarian situation has gotten worse each day.

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