Gaza patients face a serious deterioration due to a shortage of medicines in light of the Corona crisis

 Mohamed Al-Batsh from Gaza faces a serious deterioration in his health in light of a severe shortage of medicines in government hospitals, compounded by the crisis of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Al-Batsh, a sixty-year-old resident of Gaza, has been suffering from the two orders of getting a dialysis appointment from Shifa Medical Hospital since the start of the Corona disease.

Al-Batsh says that he needs dialysis three times a week, but he has become obligated to be satisfied once a week, due to the lack of medical supplies he needs each time.

He adds: "Since the imposition of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, we suffer a lot, but in light of the existence of the Corona disease, our suffering has doubled, so we do not know when it will end."

The patients in the Gaza Strip face a danger to their lives, due to the severe shortage in a large number of drugs in light of the Corona crisis and the closure of commercial crossings in the countries of the world.

The health sector lacks more than 226 classes of drugs, or 44 percent, in addition to a lack of 256 items of medical consumables, or 30 percent, according to a statement of the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Those drugs and medical consumables benefit cancer, kidney, thalassemia, hemophilia, eyes, and heart patients, as well as children who suffer from PKU and because of it need their own therapeutic milk.

For many years, Sanabel Abu Askar (25 years), from Gaza, has been struggling to obtain therapeutic milk (vinyl free) for her two children who suffer from PKU from government hospitals.

"We must have therapeutic milk so that my children can live normally, otherwise their lives will be in real danger if their brains stop growing," says Sanabel.

She explains that her youngest child "was exposed to a health crisis when she was six months old after lack of milk and lack of milk, forcing her to go to Israeli hospitals to receive treatment after the baby's skin was dissolved and her brain development stopped."

"Patients are the real victims of such crises in the Gaza Strip, and we do not know how to protect our children from the inevitable death. The milk they need is an antibiotic for them more than food."

Munir al-Barrash, Director General of the General Administration of Pharmacy at the Ministry of Health in Gaza confirms that the health sector suffers from a significant deterioration in light of the Corona disease crisis, in order to increase the suffering of patients who already suffer from the Israeli blockade and the scarcity of available medicines.

"There are thousands of Palestinian patients facing the real danger, given the catastrophic situation of the health sector in the besieged Gaza Strip," Al-Birsh said.

According to Al-Barash, the total number of medicines and medical supplies that arrived in the sector from the medical warehouses of the Ministry of Health in Ramallah does not exceed 5% of the annual need for the Gaza Strip.

He adds that "Gaza is facing an illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade, which has lost all health and services essentials to the sector and made it in a weak state regarding the provision of adequate health care."

Since the beginning of the Corona crisis in the world, all private medical companies have stopped supplying medicines to the Gaza Strip, in addition to the Palestinian pharmaceutical companies that have stopped production due to the lack of raw materials for their manufacturing.

The Syndicate of Pharmacists in Gaza, Ihab Dabbash, said: "The preoccupation of the countries of the world in the face of the Corona disease prevented the supply of medicines and raw materials to Palestine, and the sufficiency of each country to provide medicines to their people only."

According to Dabbash, the local market in the Gaza Strip depends on 70 percent of the drugs produced by the local pharmaceutical companies, "but today it stopped production, which led to the exhaustion of many types of drugs from the market."

He says: "Unfortunately, the Palestinian health sector lacks a strategic stock of medicines," pointing out that it "depends on immediate production and immediate supply without preparing for such crises."

Therefore, the Palestinians are forced to seek assistance from Israel in order to supply medicines to patients in the Gaza Strip, "but this is done according to the mood of the Israelis in addition to the selectivity in supplying certain types and preventing other types." According to Dabbash.

Israel has imposed a strict blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Hamas officials have always complained that the consequences of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip were catastrophic, increasing poverty and unemployment, accusing Israel of banning the shipment of medical equipment and devices to the Strip.


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