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Gaza Health Sector on Verge of Collapse

Gaza Health Sector on Verge of Collapse

Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 - 07:00
The health sector in Gaza is on the verge of collapse due to power cuts and shortage of medical supplies. (Reuters)

The health sector in the Palestinian Gaza Strip is on the verge of complete collapse due to a decrease in services in the majority of Health Ministry hospitals as a result of a shortage in medicine.

An electricity crisis in the coastal strip has also exacerbated the problem after fuel supplies ran out.

A hospital in Gaza stopped services Monday after it ran out of fuel, the health ministry said, in a further example of the severe electricity shortage facing the blockaded enclave.

Beit Hanoun hospital in northern Gaza had "suspended medical services because of the lack of fuel", with patients to be transferred to other hospitals, said Gazan health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

With the halt in hospital services, 340,000 residents in northern Gaza now do not have access to medical facilities.

At current electricity rates, the hospital needs 500 liters of fuel a day to operate a generator and keep services open, Qudra added. Without generators, residents have to tolerate eight to 16 hours a day without power.

The Health Ministry launched on social media a campaign called “Save Gaza”, amid urgent calls by Palestinian officials and international organizations to take immediate action to save hospital patients.

Senior Ministry officials held an emergency meeting with Palestinian faction leaderships to inform them about the poor health situation in the coastal strip.

They held the Palestinian Authority responsible for the deteriorating situation in Gaza because it had failed to heed its calls to help improve conditions in the health sector.

The Palestinian government of national accord rejected those accusations, saying they were part of a campaign by the Hamas movement to distort the truth.

Furthermore, it stressed that the Health Ministry in Ramallah provided some 40 trucks, loaded with 4 million dollars worth of medicine and medical supplies, and dispatched them to Gaza hospitals two weeks ago.

It added that it is continuing in performing its duties and spending some 100 million dollars a month on the Gaza Strip.

It accused Hamas of collecting taxes and depositing them in its own treasury instead of spending them on the people and meeting hospital needs. The expenses of various institutions in the strip can be met if the movement transferred these funds to the public treasury, it said.

Moreover, it said that Hamas was selling fuel imported from Egypt to private companies at high costs instead of using these supplies in improving electricity in Gaza.

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