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Critical Health Issues in Gaza

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Critical Health Issues in Gaza - by Stephen Lendman

Israel keeps suffocating Gazans lawlessly.

Since locked down and isolated by Israel, Gaza's experienced systemic crisis. Its health system especially was gravely harmed. 

Many services and life-saving treatments aren't available. Accessing it elsewhere is uncertain and tenuous. Treating chronic illnesses is jeopardized by inadequate medicines and proper equipment.

Regular Israel incursions and air attacks exacerbate bad conditions. So do deficient fuel and electricity supplies, as well as unsafe drinking water and other health hazards.

Conditions are getting worse, not better. In September Physicians for Human Rights/Israel (PHR/I) said:

"Israel glaringly violate(s) the rights of Palestinians to health, each time in a different manner." It said the right to health "extends to (its) underlying determinants, (including) food and nutrition, housing, access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, safe and healthy working conditions, and a healthy environment."

By imposing draconian impediments, Palestinians, especially Gazans, lack proper health services. As a result, lives are lost and human suffering aggravated.

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"As these lines are being written, we are witnessing a grave crisis in the Gaza health system." Its Ministry of Health reports dozens of medications in short supply or exhausted. Moreover, 123 types of medical equipment are unavailable. Dozens of others need replacing.

Israel's Gaza policy is "humanitarian minimum." Often it's non-existent. Gaza lurches from one crisis to another. Duct tape solutions won't solve it. 

Absent change, "it is difficult to anticipate an end to the daily suffering of the sick and infirm individuals residing in these territories," especially besieged Gazans.

As an occupying power, Israel bears full responsibility. Nonetheless, it willfully and systematically breaches its international law obligations. As a result, Gazans suffer horrifically, especially on accessing healthcare when it's most needed.

On December 4, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expressed concern over medical shortages in Gaza's hospitals, saying:

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Critical shortages of medicines affect healthcare. Repercussions are potentially catastrophic, "especially (for) patients and those suffering chronic diseases...."

According to Ministry of Health Director General of Pharmacy Dr. Muneer al-Bursh, health facilities and warehouses exhausted 120 essential medicines and 140 medical goods.

In 2011, Ramallah's Ministry of Health supplied only 20% of Gaza's medicinal needs. Shortages of goods like Blood Line used in dialyses threatens the lives of 400 patients currently.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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