International Reports

WHO: Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip, June 2017

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14 August 2017

Deteriorating access for Gaza patients needing referral for health care outside Gaza


-- Decline in the number of referral decisions by the Ministry of Health for Gaza patients: the lowest number since WHO started to monitor referrals in 2009 and 80% lower than the monthly average for 2016


-- More than half of patients with delayed/denied permits: Of 1,920 patient applications for a permit to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in June 2017, 951 (49.5%) were approved, 20 (1.0%) were denied, and 949 (49.4%) were delayed with no response by the time of the patient’s hospital appointment. Among those delayed were 222 children under the age of 18 years and 113 people aged 60 years or older (Palestinian Health Liaison and Coordination Office in Gaza).


-- Three in every five patient companions with delayed/denied permits: The approval rate of permit applications for patient companions was 41.0%. 1.5% of companions were denied permits and the remaining 57.5% still had their application pending by the time of the patient’s scheduled hospital appointment date.


-- Security interrogation of patients: 38 patients (25 males; 13 females), were requested for interrogation by the General Security Services at Erez during June. Six were approved permits to travel for health care.


-- No access to Egypt: Rafah terminal was closed in both directions. No medical aid and no medical delegates entered Gaza.


-- New Israeli restrictions on Gaza patient applications came into effect on 7th May 2017


-- A 45-year-old woman with breast cancer died while awaiting a permit to exit Gaza for health care (see page 5)


-- A Two-year-old patient with kidney failure passed away while awaiting financial approval for referral out of Gaza


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