Several Health Ministry officials at the Palestinian National Authority have warned of a serious health crisis in Gaza Strip due to the shortage of medicines and basic medical supplies, caused by the continuous Israeli siege and punitive measures against the Palestinian people, while the Secretary General of the League of Arab States called on pharmaceutical companies to donate medicines to the Palestinian people.
Dr. Basem Naim, the Minister of Health, called on the international community to interfere and lift the Israeli blockade on the Palestinians, by allowing the entry of medicines and medical supplies.
"The current health situation spells out a catastrophe, due to the shortage in more than 1,500 types of medicines, which are needed badly by the ministry, especially the medicines for treating kidney and cancer patients, whose lives are being endangered," Dr. Naim said.
He also added that the ministry will be forced in the next few days to stop some urgent surgeries, due to the lack of medicines and necessary equipment, pointing out that the shortage is now focused on medicines of heart and kidney problems.
On his part, the director of primary care and emergency at the Ministry, Dr. Moaweya Abu Hasanein, announced that almost 40 percent of the medicines for chronic diseases in Gaza have ran out, noting the increase in cases of malnutrition and low blood hemoglobin.
Hasanein called the international community and the World Health Organization to swiftly provide immediate medical care for thousands of patients and disabled persons in the Gaza Strip.
Furthermore, the director of the Pharmacies department at the Ministry, Dr. Ziyad Shaath, explained that the trucks transporting medicines between the West Bank and Israel have been reaching Karni commercial crossing at 10 in the morning, and wait until midnight without being allowed inside.
"If the situation continues like this, then we will face a1 catastrophe," Dr. Shaath said.
Palestinians depend on what the Ministry of Health imports from Palestinian pharmaceutical companies in the West Bank and Jerusalem, in addition to some Israeli companies. Only one pharmaceutical company is based in Gaza, and cannot provide all the types of medicines needed.
"Our stores of medicines are slowly depleting, and we lack a lot of basic supplies. Some companies stopped providing medicines because the Ministry is unable to pay the bill," Dr. Shaath continued.
What further complicated the health situation in the Palestinian territories, is that Israeli forces have prevented patients from Gaza with severe illnesses from reach the more developed Israeli hospitals for treatment, threatening their lives every day.
Since its siege of the Palestinian territories, Israeli forces prevented 21 patients from reaching Israeli hospital to continue their treatment, including three children and several elderly citizens, whom the Ministry of Health confirm that they received a security clearance and obtained the proper permits to enter Israel.
The Ministry also asserted that Israel banned ambulances from reaching behind the "Green Line" in order to bring serums and special medications for renal failure patients, despite the full Israeli and Palestinian coordination in this aspect.
On the other hand, the League of Arab States called on Arab pharmaceutical companies to donate medicines and medical supplies to the Palestinian people, as the Secretary General of the League Amre Mousa asserted that he had received a number of letters from the Minister of Health explaining the dire situation of the Palestinian hospitals and their need for medicines and other medical supplies.
Mousa added that coordination has been made with the Council of Arab Health Ministers and the Arab Doctors Union to send urgent medical assistance of an estimated cost of $150 thousand.
On Tuesday, the head of the Jordanian Representative Office to the PNA, Yehya Al Qarala, announced the arrival of the shipment of Jordanian humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian territories, in cooperation with the Crisis Management Center of the Jordanian Armed Forces.
Al Qarala said in a press statement that the shipment is composed of 27 trucks, 17 of which arrived to the Gaza Strip through Karni crossing, and included a large amount of medicines, medical equipment and supplies to Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, along with food consignments.
He further mentioned that the shipment was delivered to the proper Palestinian authorities, who will in turn distribute it on those who require it.