PMRS and PCHR Launch Joint Report: “Social Determinants of Health in Gaza Strip”
Date: 16 March 2021
On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a new report: “Social Determinants of Health in the Gaza Strip.” The report aims to address the social determinants of health and health inequalities in the Gaza Strip and to urge decision makers and stakeholders to take action in an attempt to improve health, education and housing sectors as well as social and political policies. The report informs decision makers on the impact of their decisions on the health of the Gaza Strip population.
It should be noted that the report used primary and secondary sources and reviewed national and international documents and literature, in addition to in-depth interviews with five key resources in the Gaza Strip.
The report contains data about the social determinants of health according to the following topics: access to education and its quality; economic stability; environmental factors; political situation; health system; health policies, laws and regulations; social and cultural factors; individual behavior; and biological and genetic factors.
The report offered a series of conclusions, most prominently:
- The prolonged Israeli occupation has had a negative impact on the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian population, which affects population’s health.
- The restrictions on the movement of individuals and goods is one of the main determinants of health in the Gaza Strip, because of its adverse effects on human health.
- With regard to the education system, there is an increase in literacy rate, but with poor quality. This is mainly influenced by several factors: repeated Israeli military escalation, frequent power outages for long hours, salary cuts, the early retirement of public servants, and the poor social and economic situation of the Gaza population.
- The majority Gaza population relies on humanitarian aid to survive without any means of access to education, health, clothing and shelter.
- More than half of the Gaza Strip population is poor, taking into consideration poverty’s negative impact on health.
- Around two thirds of the youth (between 19 and 29 years old) in the Gaza Strip are unemployed, negatively impacting their physical and mental health.
- The Gaza Strip population has deficiency in water quality and quantity, recurrent power outages and improper disposal of sewage and solid waste, thereby negatively affecting their health.
- The Gaza healthcare system lacks a unified and accurate database for the social determinants of health.
- Healthcare facilities are exhausted and cannot meet the medical needs of the population as the shortage of medicines and medical supplies threatens people’s health.
- There is a concerning gender gap in the labor market, where the unemployment rate among women is 1.68% higher than men.
The report also presents recommendations as it calls upon the international community to practice pressure on Israel in order to lift the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip and end its occupation of the Palestinian territory. The report also demands the national policy-makers at the level of the Palestinian health system to set effective strategies in order to treat and improve the social determinants of health and to end health inequities.
It should be mentioned that this report is published as part of the “Promote, Respect, and Fulfill the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health in the Gaza Strip” project implemented by PCHR in partnership with PMRS and funded by the European Union.