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Medical Care in Gaza Under Siege (Part II)

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Gazan doctors unable to provide treatment refer patients abroad. The medical unit head and hospital director must then authorize it. Unavailable care is especially lacking in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology, as well as for any severe health problem for lack of proper equipment, drugs or trained staff.

Palestinian Bureaucracy Required by Israel

A Gaza medical committee must first approve referrals abroad, as explained above. It's first sent to the Ramallah Palestinian Ministry of Health for financial coverage approval. Patients must then submit proper papers to the Gaza Palestinian Ministry of Health to schedule an appointment in an Israeli or Palestinian hospital. On average, the process takes 7 - 10 days without hitches.

Submitting an Entry Permit Application

Comprised of an authorized referral, financial coverage approval, and scheduled exam date, patients must submit entry requests to the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee - the Palestinian Health Coordinator appointed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Coordinating between Palestine and Israel, everything pertaining to healthcare must go through him or her with exclusive authority to handle all applications for Gazans. "In his absence, patients encounter great difficulties, often missing appointments and access to timely medical treatment."

Israel Decides Who Exits and Who Doesn't Regardless of Need

Palestine's Health Coordinator submits patient entry permit applications to the District Coordination Office (DCO), a division of Israel's military. After reviewing them, DCO sends them to General Security Service (GSS) authorities for security clearance. Some get permission. Others don't, but the process takes time, too much, in fact, in emergency situations.

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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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