The Gaza Health Sector as of June 2014

Brief report to UNRWA By Dr. Mads Gilbert MD PhD, professor, University Hospital of North Norway, Tromsø, Norway.



"During my visit to Gaza from June 18th to July 3rd 2014, I visited hospitals, primary health care centres and infrastructural sites for handling waste water, solid waste and fresh water. I discussed with and interviewed health professionals, staff and patients at various levels and in different institutions; and did home visits to civilian Palestinian families with children who survived serious traumatic injuries in January 2009. I participated on call and in patient treatment at Al-Shifa Hospital and saw the work in four UNRWA clinics both in North and South of Gaza. I also had meetings with relevant authorities in Ministry of Health (MoH) and the hospital directors at Shifa Hospital and Al Quds Hospital. The content of this brief dispatch is based on multiple sources, but the report is my own full responsibility".


Following years of socioeconomic decline, repeated attacks and Israeli closures and siege, the health sector across the Gaza Strip is lacking adequate physical infrastructure, supplies and training opportunities. Gaza’s population continue to face devastating results of the blockade imposed by the Government of Israel. Gazans are deeply suffering with an unemployment rate of 38.5 % as of the last quarter of 2013, which is an increase of over 10 percentage points compared to six months earlier, causing widespread poverty. At least 57 % of Gaza households are food insecure and about 80 % are now aid recipients. Food insecurity and rising poverty also mean that most residents cannot meet their daily caloric requirements, while over 90 % of the water in Gaza has been deemed unfit for human consumption. (UNRWA). More than 1/3 of households in Gaza are supplied with running water for 6-8 hours only once every four days (OCHA). Palestinian health facilities are overstretched. Service is frequently interrupted by power cuts and insufficient supplies of drugs and disposables. This further threaten the health of the population, which is already at increasing risk. Physical as well as psychological trauma, poverty and environmental degradation have had a negative impact on residents’ physical and mental health across the Gaza Strip. Many, including children, suffer from long terms physical effects of war trauma, many with concomitant anxiety, distress and depression. Despite all hardship, I have met a resilient, dignified and caring population and dedicated medical professionals at all levels. Fiscal crisis and siege is causing a clinical crisis. The Gaza public health sector, in particular hospitals, are currently in a deep financial crisis.

Final Report - Gaza Health Crisis June-July 2014 - Mads Gilbert.pdf1.59 MB

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