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Gaza health ministry: medicine shortage risks lives of thousands of patients

September 25, 2018 at 11:38 am

Palestinian patients undergo kidney dialysis in Gaza City on 26 January 2014 [Mohammed Asad-Apaimages]

The Health Ministry in the occupied Gaza Strip yesterday warned that a mounting, severe shortage of medicines is risking the life of thousands of patients in the blockaded territory, especially those who suffer from chronic diseases, reported Xinhua.

According to Maher Shamiya, director general of the ministry’s Primary Care, “primary Health Care services and their programs and protocols are at risk as the deficit in essential drug lists becomes more acute”.

Gaza hospital suspends services due to fuel shortages - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Gaza hospital suspends services due to fuel shortages – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The official added that around 100 out of 143 Primary Health Care medicines are currently, unavailable, with another 16 liable to run out over the next three months.

In particular, Xinuha added, “Shamiya warned that lack of medicine will deprive patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, of continued treatment for the next three months.”

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The official concluded that the situation is “life-threatening” and “complications are expected if the crisis is not resolved”.

Ashraf Al-Qedra, the ministry spokesperson, additionally told Xinhua that Israeli occupation authorities prevent about 60 per cent of Gazan patients from travelling abroad for medical treatment, with 56 patients dying in 2017 after being banned by Israel from leaving for treatment.

The report further noted that “the medical work by the health facilities in the Gaza Strip are at risk of being interrupted by the shortage of fuel needed to operate generators used to cope with frequent power cuts.” Gaza’s residents have only four hours of electricity every half day.