The United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) voice concern about the blows the Israeli-imposed blockade have dealt to the Gazan healthcare system.
"We are deeply concerned about the current health system in Gaza and in particular its capacity and ability to deliver proper standards of healthcare to the people of Gaza," the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Max Gaylard was quoted by AFP as saying on Wednesday.
"This adverse situation is not like Haiti. Haiti has been destroyed by an earthquake…. The circumstances here are entirely man-made and can be fixed accordingly," he added in an apparent reference to the iron-cast Israeli blockade which has deprived the Gazans of their basic needs since mid-June 2007.
The comments were echoed by those of WHO, which says the embargo has made certain medication scarce, delayed or blocked the entry of vital equipment and spare parts, and kept doctors and nurses from pursuing advanced training, AFP added.
Referring to Israel’s refusal to allow many Palestinian requests for decent medical attention, Tony Laurence, the organization’s head for the Palestinian territories said, "If that happened in my country, in the UK, in Europe, in Israel, if an individual who needed urgent treatment was unable to get out because of a bureaucratic obstacle, it would be a scandal."
"Here it happens to 300 or 400 people every month," he added.
The WHO figures show that some 231 such applications were denied by the Israeli officials last month. The world body claims 27 Palestinians died last year, queuing up for the permission.
Gaza’s main Al-Shaifa hospital is reportedly in a near-collapse condition, as patients die because of a lack of specialist doctors and basic medical equipment. The hospital is not safe from the threat of Israeli offensives amid claims by Israeli intelligence sources that Palestinian fighters were hiding in its basement.
The three-week-long Israeli raids on the enclave in December 2008-January 2009, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, and the Zionist regime’s sporadic attacks ever since have worsened the humanitarian catastrophe, which threatens the lives of some 1.5 million Gazans.
Last week, Israeli forces attacked a clinic and children’s hospital. The attack on the al-Dorra children’s hospital was in defiance of a UN Security Council call for ceasefire.