MINISTRY REPORT: GAZA HEALTH SECTOR IN STATE OF EMERGENCY, CHILDREN’S LIVES ARE AT RISK


EMERGENCY MEDICAL WARNING

By Ariyana Love

Ministry of Health in Gaza has announced a State of Emergency, appealing to all concerned parties of the international community to intervene immediately and end the ongoing fuel crisis, which is incapacitating Governmental Hospitals across the already unlivable and brutally besieged Gaza Strip.

The Health Ministry warned this “catastrophic situation” will quickly expand to involve the entire health sector, including children’s facilities, which are under threat of closing “within days.” 

Last Saturday, Emirati Maternity Hospital in Rafah warned their generators will stop “within hours.”  Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the center of Gaza, transferred 2500 liters of fuel from its own tanks to save the UAE Crescent Maternity Hospital, last week. This amount of fuel was only enough to run the hospitals generators for two more days.

One-and-a-half year old Osama Jundiah has the appearance of a newborn baby due to a kidney problem [Maram Humaid/Al Jazeera]

The shortage of fuel supplies which power hospitals is largely due to the Israeli Occupation mercilessly preventing medical and fuel aid from entering Gaza. The fuel crisis began impacting hospitals in the end of November, 2018, when the remaining fuel quantities were depleted. The winter cold has compounded this crisis, leading to increased electricity loads. 

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are no longer receiving food aid and basic health services from the UN, after the Trump Administration cut USAID to UNRWA, last year. The nearly $400 million annual budget for Palestinians, has been serving over 5 million forcibly displaced refugees. The closing of UN programs and facilities serving Palestine, has impacted the extreme poverty rate in Gaza, which shot past 80%, as reported this year. 

Besides Qatari aid money, there is no other supply of fuel from donors for Government hospitals, leading Gaza to an intentionally induced, State of Emergency. Five hospitals are presently “counting down,” as their generators stand on the brink of imminent shut down in the coming hours. This will bring an immediate end to overall health services in the Strip, including specialized medical services and children’s facilities, putting hundreds of children’s lives at risk. Thousands more civilian lives are at risk of Medical Torture and unnecessary death. 

Palestine’s Ministry of Health is releasing this urgent appeal to the international community, to provide Gaza hospitals with the vital fuel needed, to ensure the continuity of health services for the thousands of vulnerable patients at risk. The monthly consumption of fuel needed to run Gaza’s health facilities, is 300,000 liters. Pressure should be placed on the Israel to uphold their internationally recognized, legal obligations as a Military Occupation to ensure Gaza’s Health Sector remains operational. Further loss of human life will certainly add to the Occupation’s surmounting war crimes atrocities against the Palestinian people. 

Below is a list of the catastrophic consequences the depletion of fuel will have on health facilities and  Gaza patients, when the generators cease to function:

1.) 800 patients with renal failure who attend 128 dialysis machines 3 times a week, including 30 children, could die. 
2.) 40 operation rooms will be interrupted, where 250 surgeries are being performed every day.
3.) The lives of hundreds of pregnant women who require cesarean sections, will be threatened when the operation rooms in the delivery sections cease functioning.
4.) The health situation of thousands of patients who require laboratory tests and blood units will be exacerbated every day when 50 medical laboratories and 10 blood banks are suspended at Ministry of Health facilities.
5.) The lives of 120 new born premature babies are threatened, as their lives are directly dependent on the electrical supply to nurseries in Gaza hospitals.
6.) The lives of 100 patients in the intensive care units are threatened, as their lives are linked to the continuous electricity that run life saving medical devices.
7.) 1,250 patients are under threat of loosing their eye sight.
8.) Oxygen concentration, sterilization units, laundry and other supportive services in Gaza Strip hospitals, will close.
9.) Lives will be at risk when diagnostic services in the radiology departments cease, daily therapeutic services are denied and cardiac diagnostics come to an end.
 It’s time the international community step up and intervene on behalf of the o million Gaza population, to prevent further death and alleviate the hopeless misery in the impoverished enclave. 

Ariyana Love

Ariyana Love is Founder of Occupy Palestine TV, TLB Director of Middle East Rising and Goodwill Ambassador to Palestine (ICSPR, Gaza). Ariyana is Chairwoman of Meta Nutrients Trust, a Human Rights Defender and Activist.

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