Rights Group: Gaza Facing Worst Medical Crisis in Year

Palestinian doctors treat a child at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital (Photo: Mohammed Asad, MEE, file)

An Israeli human rights organisation has warned against the consequences of what it described as “the worst medication crisis facing the besieged coastal enclave in years,” with the main victims of the crisis being cystic fibrosis patients, cancer patients, and infants with developmental deficits, Maan News Agency has reported.

According to Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), “the medication crisis came as the result of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) gradually cutting its budget for Gaza healthcare and medical supplies over recent months, which reached an unprecedented low in May.”

Information gathered by PHRI from Gaza’s Health Ministry showed that the regular monthly budget had been $4 million, which dropped to $2.3 million in April, and to a mere $500,000 in May – affecting the regular operations of 13 government hospitals and 54 primary care centers.

According to PHRI, one-third of essential medicines and more than 270 medical equipment items for operating rooms and intensive care units can no longer be obtained in the health ministry’s storerooms or in Gaza’s hospitals.

Due to the severe medicine shortages, over 320 cystic fibrosis patients are in mortal danger, 240 infants with developmental deficits do not receive therapeutic milk, and 90 percent of cancer patients do not receive full treatment, according to the report.

“In the Gaza Strip, there are 321 (cystic fibrosis) patients who require 40,000 Cryon pills, but the storerooms are completely empty and the supply level reached zero” PHRI quoted Ashraf al-Shanti, chairman of the Association of Cystic Fibrosis Patients in Gaza, as saying.

Israeli NGO B’Tselem in a statement released Tuesday evening echoed previous arguments that the Israeli government was not just a neutral service provider, but was chiefly accountable for the fate of Palestinians in Gaza, who as of this week have been under Israeli military blockade for a decade.

(Maan, PHRI, PC, Social Media)

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