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Healthcare workers amongst the injured in Palestine

Published 15th May 2018

Doctors of the World staff inspecting a bombed hospital in Gaza in 2014 by Sacha Petryszyn

Doctors of the World colleagues from France, Spain and Switzerland have provided healthcare services in Palestine for 16 years.

Today, colleagues expressed their deepest concern regarding Israel’s violent response against Palestinian civilians demonstrating near the perimeter fence with Israel in Gaza.

This condemnation has increased since the killing of 59 protestors on Monday.

Over the previous six weeks, the Israeli army had killed 45 Palestinians, including four children, and injured more than 8,500 civilians protesting for their right to return.

Furthermore, according to the World Health Organisation, 169 healthcare staff have been injured and 19 ambulances have been damaged as a result of the violent response.

In recent times, the hospitals in Gaza have treated 4,045 victims with severe injuries, 18 per cent of them are under age and less than half of the urgent patients requiring referral to other hospitals outside Gaza have received the necessary exit permit from Israel. The high number of emergency cases is challenging hospitals’ capacity and putting on hold thousands of elective surgeries.

DOTW medical teams have been working with volunteers, primary health centre staff and emergency departments in six hospitals to improve emergency preparedness, as well as providing paediatric orthopaedic surgeries.

Health services in particular are constantly struggling to cope with the increasing problems:

– Water pollution and lack of potable water represent an imminent risk of waterborne diseases.
– Almost half of essential drugs and disposables are constantly unavailable.
– Electricity cuts limit regular provision to four hours per day, and therefore hampering the quality and services primary health centres and hospitals provide.

As this tragic situation unfolds, Doctors of the World calls for the absolute respect to the right to health, in particular eliminating any obstacle to access to health services outside the Gaza strip.