The Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza has told participants at the 2nd conference for medical professionals and NGOs working to support the health sector in the Gaza Strip that he looks forward to a "lasting partnership". Dr Essam Yousef wrote to participating organisations and individuals at the conference organised by Turkey's Medics World Wide Foundation in Istanbul from 30 November to 1 December.
In his message, the veteran Palestinian activist expressed his appreciation of the efforts and commitment of the participating institutions to implement projects that will provide appropriate health care services to Palestinians in desperate need. "There is a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before our eyes," explained Yousef to MEMO. "How can anyone who cares for their fellow human beings turn their back on the people who are suffering? This is an entirely man-made crisis, remember; it is not a natural disaster. We have to do everything within our power to help."
During the conference — slogan: "Palestine, the pulse will not stop 2" — the participants discussed several urgent projects that the Palestinian health sector needs, especially in the Gaza Strip, where citizens suffer from a deteriorating situation as a result of the Israeli-led siege, which has lasted for more than 13 years.
Medics World Wide pointed out that the conference's objective "is to unify and integrate the efforts of humanitarian organisations as well as achieve effective coordination, cooperation and consultation among this diversity of non-governmental organisations, in order to achieve unity and prevent duality and a waste of funds, energy, time and resources." Furthermore, added the Turkish foundation, it also aims to contribute to the achievement of the third of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, which provides for ensuring that all human beings of all ages enjoy healthy lifestyles and well-being.
The foundation seeks solutions to the provision of "urgently-needed humanitarian necessities" wherever crises and disasters strike, usually due to conflict and war. "The Palestinian health sector, in particular, suffers an increasingly worsening situation due to the suffocating siege and ongoing conflict. These deteriorating indicators are imposing a heavy burden on the health sector, which may result in the collapse of the entire system."
Several humanitarian organisations at the conference undertook to implement projects that serve the Palestinian health sector, through securing appropriate treatment for patients and providing medicines, equipment and medical supplies inside the occupied Palestinian territories and refugee camps. They also intend to support hospitals and health centres in the Gaza Strip by helping to carry out emergency operations as well as provide training for Palestinian medical staff.