Special milk substitute powder essential for the treatment and well-being of patients suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) is in dangerously short supply in the besieged Gaza Strip, Quds Press has reported.
Almost 300 Palestinians in the enclave are known to suffer from the rare genetic condition that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body.
According to a spokesman for the Association of the Families of PKU Patients, Musallam Al-Najjar, the lives of the children with PKU in Gaza are at serious risk due to the restrictions imposed on the import of the milk for the past five months.
The milk substitute is the sole treatment and food for PKU patients.
The lack of this milk causes a lot of disorder in the life of the PKU patients and could lead to a permanent disability… We are facing a serious crisis.
Al-Najjar called on the World Health Organisation and other groups to do their best to bring this milk to Gaza in order to help PKU patients.
The acute shortage was confirmed by the Director of the Pharmaceutical Department in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Muneer Al-Borsh. He pointed out that there is a serious shortage of all medicines on the essential drugs list in Gaza, 30 per cent of which are no longer available.
"What's more," added Al-Borsh, "the ministry's ability to run medical facilities in Gaza suffers from a shortage of 45 per cent of the disposables which are needed for operations, operating theatres and intensive care units to be fully safe and effective."