Saturday, June 11, 2011

'Gaza health sector on verge of collapse'

PressTV - 'Gaza health sector on verge of collapse':

Thu Jun 9, 2011 11:40PM

"Hamas Health Minister Basem Naem says the Gaza health sector is on the verge of collapse due to shortage of medical supplies caused by the ongoing Israeli siege.

He told a press conference that amid the worst shortage of medicine in Gaza in the last five years due to the Israeli blockade, the patients' lives are being severely threatened in the enclave, a Press TV correspondent reported on Thursday.

The minister said that the Hamas health ministry has decided to cut five percent of its employees' salaries to import drugs and medical supplies.

He also declared a state of emergency, warning that the health sector will collapse if the needed medicines and medical supplies are not imported.

Naem said that hundreds of medications and supplies have run out and warned that all surgeries would be suspended in the next few days if the medical supplies did not start reaching Gaza.

Gaza officials have also put the blame on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, saying that the PA usually and deliberately delays sending Gaza's monthly medicine share.

Due to the siege, Gaza patients have to seek medication abroad in Egypt. Therefore, they need to get official permission to leave Gaza. Most of them complain that the permission is given with a long delay, the correspondent said.

According to health officials, the surgical services have been decreased to a minimum capacity in all hospitals as a result of the tragic circumstances in Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority, run by acting Chief Mahmoud Abbas, said the shortage is severe in the West Bank as well, owing to a lack of money.

Maan News Agency: Minister: Gaza medical crisis 'unprecedented':

"GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are suffering a critical shortage of medicine and medical supplies, Hamas Health Minister Bassem Naem said Saturday.

The crisis was unprecedented even during Israel's massive offensive on Gaza in December 2008, Naem said, adding that the situation was worsening by the day.

Speaking at a conference in Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Naem said 180 types of medicine and 200 medical items had run out in Gaza, including alcohol and needles.

All health facilities were affected by the deficit, the minister said, adding that Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip exacerbated the crisis.

The Gaza health ministry announced a state of emergency in Gaza on Wednesday.

On Friday, Naem announced that pre-scheduled surgeries would be canceled, including children's operations, cardiac catheterization, laparoscopic surgery and bone and nerve operations. He said the ministry would reduce medical services including laboratory tests.

An eye hospital in Gaza City reported Saturday that it had canceled 12 surgeries because doctors had run out of medical supplies.

In An-Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, the shortage affected 142 patients who could not be given medicine.

Sources in the Gaza Health Ministry said Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath had promised to send medicine to Gaza from Ramallah, but that the supplies never arrived.

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