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8,260 patients at risk after cancer treatment runs out in Gaza

Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Some 8,260 in the besieged Gaza Strip are unable to access chemotherapy treatment after the drugs needed ran out as a result of the siege, the Palestinian Health Ministry revealed yesterday.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said 80 per cent of cancer medicines are not available in the enclave which makes treatment impossible and puts patients’ lives at risk.

The ministry said that there are 6,100 cancer patients, including 460 children, who receive treatment at Al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza City.

In addition, the ministry said, there are 1,700 cancer patients in the European Hospital in southern city of Khan Yunis.

Read: Shortage of medicines in Gaza harms psychiatric patients

Human rights groups have called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to end the punitive measures he has imposed on the Strip in particular those which have paralysed its health sector.

Gaza has endured an 11-year Israeli siege which has seen all its land and sea ports closed. The PA has exacerbated the situation by cutting salaries of civil servants, refusing to pay Gaza’s electricity costs and providing insufficient medication for hospitals. This comes a time when UNRWA is experiencing major cuts and has been reducing its workforce causing Palestinians in Gaza to become unemployed.

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