Immunostaining machine provided by MAP will improve accuracy and speed of cancer diagnosis in Gaza

The 13-year illegal closure of Gaza and other factors have had a devastating effect on Gaza’s health system, including cancer care.

Cancer departments face severe shortages of essential drugs and supplies, as well as a lack of equipment. According to the World Health Organization, nearly half (48%) of essential drugs in Gaza in November were at ‘zero stock’, with less than a month’s supply available. For chemotherapy drugs, the situation was even bleaker, with 63% of essential drugs at zero stock.

For patients unable to get the care they need within Gaza, including radiotherapy, their ability to travel outside for treatment can be obstructed, with exit permits denied or delayed by the Israeli authorities. Large numbers of health workers are also prevented from travelling outside for training, making it extremely difficult for them to update their skills.

Amid these challenges, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has been working since 2017 to improve the quality of breast cancer care in Gaza. This includes regular visits from multi-disciplinary teams from the UK to Gaza and the West Bank to provide on-the-job training to Palestinian clinicians as well as the provision of essential equipment.

Last month, MAP purchased an immunostaining machine for the Pathology Department at Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa. This is the first such machine in Gaza and will help improve the accuracy and speed of pathology tests for detecting cancer, based on identifying specific protein markers.

Dr Hossam Hamada, Head of Al Shifa’s Pathology Department, explained that the machine will improve the quality, efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy of their work. Due to limited capacity, technicians used to perform 10 to 15 tests manually and only two days a week. With each patient needing three to four tests, diagnosis has been time-consuming. With the new immunostaining machine the Department will be able to perform at least 150 tests per week.

If you would like to support MAP’s programmes improving breast cancer care for Palestinian patients, please donate today. 

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