The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses concern over the extreme shortage of medicines in the Gaza Strip hospitals. PCHR warns of the potential catastrophic repercussions on the health of the Gaza Strip population, especially patients who suffer from renal failure due to the shortage in blood filters used in dialysis. PCHR is concerned that the lack of such blood filters may stop dialysis in the Gaza Strip hospitals, and hence endanger the lives of 450 patients.

According to Dr. Ashraf al-Qidwa, Spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Dialysis filters 5 and 6, which are major consumables that function like normal kidneys and serve to remove toxins from the blood during dialysis. These filters are about to run out from hospitals and medical care centers in the Gaza Strip.

According to al-Qidwa, only 24 pieces of these consumables are available now, which does not suffice according to the needs of 450 patients who undergo dialysis three times a week. This amount is only sufficient for a weekly dialysis of the patients’ blood only.

Al-Qidwa stated that if blood filters ran out, all dialysis apparatuses in hospitals would be stopped. He attributed the shortage in medical consumables to the abstention of the Ministry of Health in Ramallah from supplying the Gaza Strip’s medical needs as agreed.

PCHR has followed up the developments in the health conditions in the Gaza Strip. In June and December 2011, PCHR received complaints from patients concerning delayed receipt of their medicines from health facilities in the Gaza Strip as many medicines and medical consumables ran out.

At that time, PCHR found out that such delay was essentially attributed to the running out of such medicines and medical consumables as they were not regularly supplied to the Gaza Strip, or their amounts were decreased to the minimum, by the General Directorate of Pharmacy in Ramallah; only 20% of the Gaza Strip’s actual needs have been supplied in 2011.

According to PCHR’s documentation, 178 medicines and 190 medical consumables ran out from public health facilities in the Gaza Strip, and in December, 120 medicines and 140 consumables ran out, because they were not supplied by the Ministry of Health in Ramallah.[1] PCHR has warned of the impact of the shortage of medicines on the lives of patients in the Gaza Strip, but the crisis has not been improved and it has reemerged with the shortage of medicines necessary for renal diseases.

Click here to read the story of Shahinaz Khouf, a mother of six who suffers from kidney failure and whose health is deteriorating because she receives insufficient dialysis sessions.

PCHR expresses utmost concern over the deterioration of health conditions of Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip, and:

1. Calls upon President Mahmoud Abbas to immediately intervene with the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to ensure the prompt flow of consignments of medicine and medical needs to health facilities in the Gaza Strip;

2. Calls for making necessary coordination to remove obstacles between the Ministries of Health in Ramallah and Gaza, especially under the current atmosphere of reconciliation;

3. Calls upon the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to immediately supply all medicines and medical needs that are necessary for health facilities in the Gaza Strip to avoid further risks to the health and lives of the population of the Gaza Strip.

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