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Fearing for Patients’ Life, PCHR Warns of Medicine Shortage in Gaza Strip Hospitals

Ref: 76/2019

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned over the increasing crisis of medicine shortage in the Gaza Strip hospitals and warns of its serious impact on life of thousands of patients, who suffer serious diseases and are in urgent need of treatment.  PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Authority (PA) and international organizations to intervene immediately and dispatch the necessary medicine supplies to the Gaza Strip hospitals in order to save patients’ life.

 

According to PCHR’s follow-up, the Ministry of health facilities in the Gaza Strip suffer from acute shortage of medicines for patients of cancer, kidney, chronic diseases “diabetes and hypertension”, thalassemia and  hemophilia in addition to shortage of the therapeutic milk (Galactomin milk) for infants.

 

Dr. Munir al-Borsh, Director General of Pharmacies in the Ministry of Health, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that the medicine deficit in the Ministry of Health stocks reached around 52%.  He elaborated that the medicine shortage crisis in the Strip has affected many categories including 8000 cancer patients; 2000 of them take drug doses, as 38 types of cancer drugs ran out of stocks, i.e. 62% of the treatment protocols.  Those categories also included 1189 kidney patients; 39 of them are children, who undergo frequent dialysis, and 125 hemophilia patients, half of them are children, as lack of factor 8 and factor 9 drug doses would subject patients’ life to serious health symptoms, including coagulation. In addition, this crisis has also affected thalassemia patients and chronic diabetes and hypertension patients.

 

According to the the Health Ministry’s statistics, the therapeutic milk (Glactomin milk) completely ran out of the Ministry’s stocks and this would threaten life of sick children and cause them either a disability or kidney failure.  Moreover, this milk is not available in the local pharmacies and its price is even very high as each can costs $130; thus, each patient will need $1000 monthly to cover their need.   It should be mentioned that the Ministry of Health needs 60 milk cans monthly distributed to 10 sick children, i.e. 6 cans for each.

 

PCHR hereby expresses its concern over the aggravating health conditions in the Gaza Strip, and:

 

  • Calls upon the PA to shoulder its responsibilities and urgently intervene to ensure the supply of medicines and medical disposables to the health facilities in the Gaza Strip to alleviate the suffering of patients in the Gaza Strip hospitals.
  • Calls for the need to coordinate between the departments of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah and Gaza and to ensure the right to health of every citizen, including the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”
  • Appeals to international organizations, including the United Nations relevant bodies, to intervene to provide the urgent assistance to the health sector, ensuring the continued functioning of all health facilities in the sector.
  • Reiterates that the Gaza Strip is still an occupied territory, and Israel as an occupying power is responsible for ensuring the supply of medicine shipments to the population of the occupied territory under its international obligations.