Palestinian Child Dies after being Denied Access to Hospital by Israeli Authorities

MAP was saddened to hear of the death of 17 year old Ahmed Hasan Shubeir who was denied a permit to exit Gaza to receive lifesaving medical treatment.

Ahmed Shubeir was born with a congenital heart defect. Throughout his life he regularly had to travel from Gaza to East Jerusalem to receive specialist medical treatment. Since September 2016, however, Ahmed’s family have been denied travel permits to allow their son to receive the lifesaving medical treatment he urgently required. Prevented from accessing specialist treatment in East Jerusalem, Ahmed passed away on the 14 January.

Our thoughts are with Ahmed’s family at this time.

As Ahmed Shubeir’s tragic death demonstrates, increased barriers to medical access can have fatal consequences for Palestinian patients. These deaths can be avoided by improving access to healthcare. Alarmingly, however, medical referral permits to exit Gaza are becoming harder for Palestinians to obtain. WHO figures have shown Israeli approvals of permits continued to decline in 2016, from a high in January of 78.2% to a low of 44.1% in October.

Access to healthcare is fundamental to the right to health. Without safe and unimpeded passage, patients cannot physically get to centres of care, leaving other components of the right to health, such as the quality and availability of treatment meaningless. Yet Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza continue to face numerous physical and bureaucratic barriers to accessing effective treatment and care.

Throughout 2017 MAP will be campaigning for the health and dignity of Palestinians. This will include calling on governments like the UK to place pressure on Israel to remove the obstacles to the right to movement which undermine access to treatment, including ending the restrictive permit regime which both hinders and prevents access to adequate care.

You can read a detailed account of Ahmed Shubeir’s case here

Featured image: Image provided by the World Health Organisation

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