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In Light of Hospital Failure to Provide Adequate Regular Medical Treatment, PCHR Calls for Solutions to Save Lives of Gazan Cancer Patients

Ref: 80/2020

Date: 26 August 2020

Time: 10:00 GMT

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) follows with deep concern the serious deterioration in medical services for cancer patients in the Gaza Strip, such as lack of proper diagnosis and necessary treatments as per applicable protocols (both chemotherapy  and radiation therapy). PCHR fears that this shortage would affect the lives of cancer patients in light of the weakness of the health system, primarily caused by the Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip for 14 years, which poses a serious threat to the lives of those patients. PCHR also calls upon the international community and the World Health Organization (WHO) to pressure Israel to allow importing all necessary medical supplies and medicines to the Gaza Strip, especially those relevant to radiation therapy that is necessary for cancer patients. PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PA) to find solutions in order to save the lives of cancer patients whose health conditions require urgent intervention to obtain comprehensive medical services.

 

According to PCHR’s follow-up, about 8,000 cancer patients in Gaza suffer due to the lack of necessary treatment for them, this is a direct result of IOF’s tight restrictions on the Gaza Strip crossings since the onset of the state of emergency and suspension of coordination between the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs’ (GACA) and Israeli occupation authorities by the PA  since early March and late May 2020, respectively. These measures led to an unprecedented decline in the number of patients who travelled through Beit Hanoun Crossing “Erez” in the last 5 months, which reflected negatively on cancer patients’ health conditions who are unable to find the necessary treatment in Gaza hospitals, as their conditions require them to receive chemical doses and therapeutic protocols periodically.

 

These restrictions are only part of the suffering of the health care system in Gaza, as it lacks human resources, such as oncologists and nurses; lack of medical tools and equipment, diagnostic devices, medicines, medical consumables, laboratory supplies, and devices used in radiotherapy. This reality is the direct result of 14 years of Israeli closure policy and internal Palestinian division. Additionally, the electricity crisis resulting from the suspension of the power plant after the Israeli occupation authorities banned the supply of fuel needed to run it, which threatens suspension of medical services for hundreds of patients including cancer patients.

 

PCHR received dozens of complaints and appeals from cancer patients, demanding urgent intervention to ensure their treatment abroad after Gaza Strip hospitals contracted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in April 2020, became unable to provide adequate treatment, medicines, medical supplies, and radiotherapy for those patients.

 

According to MOH sources, hospitals and medical centers in the Gaza Strip currently suffer acute shortage:  45% of the essential medicines list, 31% of medical disposables, and 65% laboratory and blood banks supplies.

 

PCHR expresses its grave concern over the deterioration of cancer patients’ health conditions in the Gaza Strip, and:

 

  1. Calls upon the international community and the World Health Organization to pressure Israel to allow the entry of the Gaza Strip’s medical needs required for Gaza patients treatment, especially cancer patients;
  2. Reiterates that the primary responsibility for providing the Gaza Strip with medical supplies lies with Israel as per the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949.
  3. Calls upon the Palestinian Authority (PA) to fulfill its obligations towards hospitals that have contracted with it in the Gaza Strip concerning cancer patients’ treatment, and to supply these hospitals with medical devices and medicines needed for cancer patients.

Calls upon international and humanitarian organizations to provide aid and assistance to the Gaza Strip’s health sector to save the lives of Gaza Strip patients, especially cancer patients