Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Critical Healthcare Fails to Recover

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Aug 26 (IPS) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that unless the siege of Gaza is lifted and a political solution implemented, Gaza's badly damaged health system will go from very bad to worse.

The WHO released a report in July stating that since the end of the war in January, most of Gaza's health services have begun to function again. But it says the health system is struggling to deliver advanced and comprehensive medical care to Gaza's 1.5 million people.

"There are a number of factors contributing to the continuing degradation of Gaza's health system," says Gaza and West Bank WHO head Tony Laurence.

"The isolation of Gaza's health system by the siege; the inability of people and equipment to get in and out of the territory; and the damage inflicted on an already compromised system by Israel's Operation Cast Lead are adding up," Laurence told IPS........

WHO stated that even when essential drugs are sent, the quantity, quality and variety were insufficient to meet needs. It warned that without urgent supply the number of items out of stock would rise to 140 by September.

Urgently needed medical equipment and most spare parts have been prevented from entering Gaza since Israel and Egypt imposed a near total siege in June 2007.

"We have hundreds of pieces of medical equipment that would be able to run efficiently but lack one spare part. We have been waiting for over a year for a spare part for our CT equipment but the Israelis have refused to allow it in," says Dr. Bassem Naem, Gaza's Health Minister........"

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