A delegation from the Palestinian Doctors Association in Europe was part of a meeting organized by the Palestine Committee in the European Parliament (DPAL) in Brussels to discuss the health situation in Palestine and proposed solutions to help vulnerable families in the occupied territories, on Monday, August 26.
Manu Pineda, the Chairman of the Palestine Committee in the European Parliament, began the meeting by delivering a speech in which he expressed his solidarity with the Palestinians while also stressing the importance of holding sessions and meetings concerned with following up on the conditions experienced by the Palestinians. Especially in the health aspect, in light of the siege on Gaza and the restrictions in the West Bank.
The European Parliament is looking into ways to support the Palestinian health sector
Dr. Riad Masharqeh, the president of the Palestinian Doctors Association in Europe, attended the meeting on behalf of the Palestinian doctors and took part in discussing the health status of the Palestinians.
He also mentioned a number of health projects the association launched recently. Most notably was the establishment of a blood bank in Al-Rantisi Hospital in Gaza, starting a training program for dealing with urinary tract cancers in the West Bank, the establishment of Hayatt centre for emergency and disaster training, and providing the hospitals and health centres with solar energy panels.
The association also supported the Palestinian hospitals by supplying them with medical equipment.
Dr. Masharqeh had asked the parliament for support. He suggested creating a committee to coordinate with The Office of the European Union Representative in the West Bank and Gaza to facilitate the entry of doctors to the occupied land.
Dr. Nizar Badran, a member of the Palestinian Doctors Association in Europe, said: “Israeli occupation authorities have prevented medical equipment and spare parts from entering the besieged Gaza Strip and West Bank. the occupation also prevents the construction of both fixed and mobile health units to stop the Palestinians from accessing medical attention and proper treatment”
He added: “Not to mention the deliberate neglect of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons”
Other participants also shed light on the inhumane practices against Palestinians and stressed the need for the Parliament to try and stop this injustice treatment of the Palestinians.
Health Conditions in Occupied Palestine
In May this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report on the health situation in Palestine, in which it outlined the aspects of the deterioration and its causes, in addition to the progress made by the organization in the past year and a list of proposals directed to Israel.
The report stated that the deterioration is due to many reasons, the biggest being:
“Successive fiscal crises of the Palestinian Authority have affected the delivery and procurement of essential services by the Ministry of Health. Barriers to sustainable financing include the evisceration of the productive base of the Palestinian economy; limitations to import and export, including in the context of Gaza’s blockade; high rates of unemployment, and unpredictability and fluctuations of international assistance with high donor dependency”
The report then proceeded to mention a high-profile case from November 2021 to January 2022, where the occupation authorities did not approve a permit three times for Saleem, a 16-year-old with acute leukaemia, to access treatment outside of Gaza Strip.
On his fourth attempt, Saleem got the permit, but when he arrived at the hospital he was denied treatment, because of a lack of available medical
supplies due to escalating debts owed by the Ministry of Health. Saleem passed away on January 9th leaving behind a very devastated family that tried until the last minute to secure an appointment at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.
“Long-term displacement and refugeehood1 contributes to enduring humanitarian health needs for
the Palestinian people, including for the provision of essential basic health care.”
The report also shed light on the continuous violent attacks on the health centres that prevent the medical staff from providing the needed medical attention.
“The large number of complex and serious injuries put pressure on health services, with health care facilities and associated infrastructure sustaining damages during heavy aerial and surface bombardment”
the report stated there were 257 fatalities and 2367 injuries among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as a result of occupation-related violence in 2021 only. Most of the injuries and attacks occurred between the military escalation from 10 to 21 May 2021.
It is worth mentioning that the continuous violent attacks do not only result in huge numbers of dead and wounded Palestinians but also affect the psychological health of the people who live in a state of constant anxiety for themselves and their children.
To read the rest of the report click here.
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