Israel denies more than 40% of Palestinians from accessing healthcare outside of Gaza

The World Health Organisation has released a report showing that Israel denied 763 Palestinians from leaving Gaza to access medical care during the month of September.

668 patient applications to travel from Gaza through the Erez crossing were delayed, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment, according to the report.

95 patient applications were denied permission to leave Gaza for health care, including seven children and 14 patients aged 60 years or older.

90 percent of denied permit applications were for appointments at hospitals in East Jerusalem or the West Bank, noted the WHO.

The overwhelming majority of referrals are for specialised treatments.

Appointments in neurosurgery made up 18% of denied applications, 17% for ophthalmology, 17% for orthopaedics, and 12% for cancer treatment and investigation.

The report also focuses on the story of Fatima, a woman from Gaza who was unable to access cancer treatment for over a year.

She was first diagnosed with colon cancer in September of 2016, and underwent surgery to remove the tumour.

Fatima was forced to leave Gaza for treatment, including chemotherapy and nuclear medicine scans which were not available within Gaza.

Fatima was able to travel for care until February of 2017, then made nine unsuccessful applications to leave Gaza for treatment.

In September 2017, she was told that she would need to attend an Israeli security interrogation for her application.

However, she was never given an appointment for the security vetting and as of September 2018 has been denied medical treatments for over a year.

It’s so painful that I cannot take care of my son. He is growing up and realizing my health problem, Fatima said.

Israeli authorities have also further hampered medical treatment for those living in the besieged Gaza strip by denying medical supplies and professionals from entering.

In August, Rosemary DiCarlo, the United Nations political chief, warned that medical supplies were running low.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza had deteriorated further, due in part to additional restrictions that Israel imposed on the movement of goods, Ms DiCarlo said.

She noted Gaza was suffering a dangerously short supply of essential medicines.

In May, Israeli authorities refused to issue entry permits necessary for members of a medical delegation formed by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah to assist medical staff in Gaza.

The ministry noted that the ban is another crime committed against the Gazan people, further compounding access to adequate medical care when so many patients are prevented from travelling abroad for treatment.

Gaza has been blockaded by Israel since 2007, and restrictions change at the whim of Israeli authorities.

Undrinkable water and only a few hours of electricity per day makes life exceedingly difficult for those living within Gaza.

Source: Palestine Monitor