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WHO: Infectious diseases rising among displaced in Gaza

April 8, 2024 at 9:24 am

A view of pile of garbage as public services have come to a standstill due to months of Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on January 13, 2024 [Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency]

Gaza is experiencing a rise in infectious diseases at a time when the health system is barely functioning, the World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesperson said yesterday.

Speaking to reporters, Dr Margaret Harris said only ten hospitals out of 36 in the Gaza Strip are partially operating, six of them are located in the south of the Strip and four in the north.

She explained that at least 15 malnourished children arrive at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza every day, which is facing difficulty in providing services due to the lack of water, food and sanitation, as well as technical equipment.

Harris pointed out that there are 18 emergency medical teams stationed in southern Gaza, and only two field hospitals out of three are operating.

She pointed out that “614,000 cases of upper respiratory infections and 330,000 cases of diarrhoea have been recorded among displaced people in shelter centres since October 7.”

She also pointed out that 83,500 cases of scabies, 48,000 skin rashes, 7,300 cases of chickenpox and jaundice were monitored in 21,300 people.

“The cases of measles diagnosed in UNRWA health centres are worrying,” she continued, stressing that 9,000 patients in Gaza need to be evacuated to receive treatment, including more than 6,000 patients with psychological trauma and 2,000 patients suffering from serious chronic diseases like cancer.

“Nearly 3,400 people have been evacuated so far, but more are needed,” she added.

As of Sunday, the death toll from Israel’s war on the besieged Gaza Strip has reached 33,175 Palestinians and 75,886 wounded, in addition to the displacement of about 85 per cent of the population of the Strip, according to Palestinian and international organisations.

READ: 1.7m people were forced to flee their homes in Gaza: UNRWA