The Palestinian Minister of Health Dr Mufid Almakhllaty has said that the opening of a new specialist surgical department, as an extension of Shifa Hospital is a challenge to the siege of Gaza and a display of determination for freedom and development despite the devastation endured by the strip during the last two wars. Dr Almakhllaty made the comments during the opening of the building on Thursday afternoon.
Almakhllaty added that this building, which stood at a total cost of more than $36 million, contains a section for the first kidney transplant in the Gaza Strip, as well as a Department of Urology, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Paediatric Surgery.
The new building will serve hundreds of thousands of citizens providing specialised surgical procedures in open-heart surgery, brain surgery, neurology, urology, paediatric surgery, and surgery of the ear, nose and throat, as well as oral and maxillofacial Surgery.
The building's development was overseen by the Qatari Crescent Society and contains more than 500 beds and many operating rooms equipped with the latest global technologies.
Almakhllaty said, "The next phase will witness the opening of a medical hospital which is sponsored by the State of Qatar at a total cost of more than one million dollars."
The Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said during his speech at the opening ceremony that the government has been developing projects for over 40 years to serve the citizens of the Gaza Strip with generous support from a number of Arab countries, most notably Qatar.
Haniyeh claimed that the projects included the redevelopment of the infrastructure of streets and roads, most notably the Salah al-Din project which extends from the Rafah crossing to Beit Hanoun, and Al-Rashid Street, as well as other industrial buildings and facilities.
Haniyeh said: "The achievements of the government are an achievement for all of its citizens and is a serves the Palestinian cause." He also expressed his deep gratitude to all the Arab brethren, with special thanks to the State of Qatar which had provided $450 million to the reconstruction of Gaza.
Haniyeh praised the great efforts of the Ministry of Health in building the medical centres, developing health facilities and rehabilitating medical staff and programs, as well as the administrative control and integration in the performance, saying: "The Ministry of Health, after years of a painful blockade, has contributed to the alleviation of suffering, and history will note that it survived and left an impact in its wake."
Haniyeh pointed out that the Ministry of Health has presented achievements and successes that future governments can build upon. He also expressed his thanks to the Islamic Development Bank for its generous support and the Qatari and Palestinian Red Crescent for their efforts in the development of the health sector. He thanked also the families of Shawa, Al-Ilmi, Sharfa and others, which contributed to the establishment of some clinics and medical centres.
The Director of the Qatari Red Crescent office, Dr Akram Nassar, said that the new surgical building will bring about a significant leap in the medical field as well as accommodating a large number of patients. Nassar said that this building will save citizens the trouble of traveling abroad for treatment and the large financial cost by conducting the most complex surgical procedures such as open-heart surgery and other complex operations within the new centre.
Nassar pointed out that the Qatari Crescent Society will continue the full completion and equipping of the entire building in the coming days. He also pointed out that Qatar has supported and will continue to support the health sector through the introduction of skilled doctors, in addition to workshops and awareness sessions for physicians. They will also import rare medicines.