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Shortage of medicines in Gaza harms psychiatric patients

Empty shelves are seen as doctors in Gaza run short on medicine [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The severe medicine shortage in the Gaza Strip’s hospitals is negatively affecting patients with chronic illnesses, mainly psychiatric patients, an official in the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza told Quds Press on Sunday.

According to Yahya Khader, head of General Administration of Psychiatric Health in Gaza, “the medicine crisis affects all sides in the ministry of health in Gaza,” stressing that this is leading to a deterioration in mental health for the patients with psychological problems.

For example, Khader said, “when the patients with depression do not take their medications regularly” they can “start thinking of committing suicide.”

Therefore, Khader said, “they must be admitted to hospital and be placed under intensive monitoring because the deterioration of their health affects other members of their families.”

The statement by the Ministry of Health warned of a deficit of 50 per cent in the 39 medicines needed by psychiatric patients. The statement noted that there are at least 5,500 psychiatric patients in Gaza.

Read: 38 trucks carrying medical supplies head to Gaza

It noted that patients with conditions like schizophrenia and depression face social problems, and also may lose their jobs.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, has announced that the crisis committee is meeting continuously to deal with the repercussions of the severe shortage of electricity and fuel in the different facilities of the ministry.

He said, according to Quds Press, that the national unity government based in Ramallah did not pay any administrational or running fees for the ministry in Gaza, including salaries of the doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

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