The Palestinian Authority (PA) has reduced treatment referrals for Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip by 75 per cent, Palestinian rights groups have revealed, warning that thousands of patients are facing death due to this measure, Safa news agency reported yesterday.
In a report the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) pointed out that treatment referrals granted to patients in Gaza by the PA ministry of health in Ramallah have gradually reduced.
The PCHR noted that the number of treatment referrals in March was 2,190; in April the figure was 1,756, a 19.8 per cent decrease; in May it went down further to 1,484, a 32.2 per cent decrease, and in June the number did not exceed 500 referrals, which is a 75 per cent decrease.
According to the PCHR, until the beginning of June the high medical commission in the Gaza Strip classified more than 2,500 cases of dangerous diseases. Patients are in urgent need of treatment outside the besieged enclave.
These patients, the PCHR said, are waiting for financial coverage from the PA for their treatment referrals, noting that the department of treatment abroad in the Ramallah-based ministry accepted only about 400 referrals.
The PCHR expressed fear that this measure would have a "disastrous" impact on the lives of hundreds of patients who are in urgent need of treatment abroad, noting that many of these patients have already started treatment in the West Bank, Israel and other hospitals abroad.