The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) launched on 27 March 2023, a new report on “Medical Equipment and Medicines in Gaza Strip: Perpetual Shortage and Serious Repercussions”. The report addresses the deteriorating health conditions in the Gaza Strip and sheds light on the suffering of Gaza Strip’s patients triggered by the frail health system and its inability to provide medicines and medical equipment for the governmental health facilities.
The report also highlights the Israeli occupation authorities’ restrictions on the entry of medical equipment; most notably the diagnostic medical devices used for diagnosing and treating cancer patients such as the interventional radiology and ultrasonography devices as well as oxygen generating stations. As clarified in the report, the Israeli occupation authorities also ban the entry of spare parts necessary for the maintenance of inoperative medical devices, having serious repercussions on the lives of thousands of patients in the Gaza Strip.
The report also underlines the impact of the ongoing Palestinian political division on the health system operation by not allocating budgets and operating expenses needed for the work of the health facilities in the Gaza Strip and absence of plans aimed at correcting and developing the health system in Palestine, including adopting a drug policy that guarantees the availability of treatment for all citizens and purchasing medical equipment, devices, and spare parts for the maintenance of inoperative machines at the Gaza Strip’s hospitals.
The report reviews testimonies showing the suffering of Gaza Strip’s patients due to the shortage of medical equipment and medicines at the departments of emergency, surgeries, intensive care; orthopedics, primary health care, oncology and hematology, mental health and neurology, Genetic immunodeficiency diseases, epidemics, maternal and child health, nephrology and hemodialysis, ophthalmology, and open heart and cardiac catheterization.
The report emphasizes Israel’s responsibility, as an occupying power, for providing the Gaza Strip population with medical supplies and bringing in the necessary foodstuffs, medical disposables, and other articles if the occupied territory’s resources are inadequate. The report also stresses that the Palestinian governmental authorities in Ramallah and Gaza have legal obligations to allocate sufficient budgets to purchase medical equipment and medicines necessary for the operation of governmental health facilities and Preservation of citizens’ health rights.
The report recommends that international community shall exert pressure on Israel to fulfill its obligations, as an occupying power under the international humanitarian law, as it holds the primary responsibility for providing medical supplies to the Gaza Strip population in accordance with Articles 55 and 56 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. The report also calls upon the Palestinian Health Ministry Administrations in Ramallah and Gaza to with each other to provide all essential medicines, medical supplies and equipment, double their efforts, and increase financial allocations dedicated to the health sector in order to purchase medicines and all medical equipment and devices necessary for the localization of health services at the Gaza Strip hospitals.