Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)

World Health Day is celebrated each year on April 7th, and it was first sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1950 to raise health awareness. The theme for World Health Day 2020 is “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” to support nurses and midwives in the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy and providing assistance for patients, especially during the outbreak of diseases and in conflicts. This occasion also coincides with the global threat of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

On World Health Day, health facilities in the Gaza Strip are severely undermined, and lack the necessary capacities to provide adequate health service to Gaza patients, including extreme shortage in essential drugs, medical consumables, equipment necessary for coronavirus medical examination, and specialized healthcare professionals.

This is the direct result of the Israeli- imposed closure on the Gaza Strip for the last 13 years; and the repercussions of the Palestinian internal division and political bickering, which negatively reflected on the entry of necessary medical supplies into the Gaza Strip and the level of health services provided for patients.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Gaza and PCHR’s follow-up, health facilities in the Gaza Strip suffer from acute shortage of essential drugs, medical disposables, ventilators, and COVID-19 testing kits (50% of the essential medicines list; 60% of medical tests; 45% of the medical disposables; and 100% shortage in COVID-19 testing kits at the Gaza Strip Hospitals).

It should be noted that the available ventilators at the Gaza Strip Hospitals are insufficient, particularly in times of emergencies and in the case of a coronavirus outbreak.

As PCHR fears the possible collapse of the health sector in the Gaza Strip, and with the awareness that the health sector cannot sustain patients in case of a coronavirus outbreak, PCHR;

  • Calls upon the international community and WHO to put pressure on Israel and compel it to comply with its obligations, and to allow the entry of Gaza Strip’s medical needs, especially equipment necessary for coronavirus medical examination.
  • Calls upon the international community and humanitarian organizations to provide aid and assistance to the Gaza Strip’s health sector and to endeavor to supply the needed medical equipment to Gaza hospitals to protect them from collapse.
  • Stresses the need for coordination between MOH in Gaza and Ramallah to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Image: Alray