Gaza update: Surgeries and cleaning services cancelled and medicines continue to run out

Last week, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s team in Gaza reported on the closure of services at three hospitals and 16 clinics due to shortages of fuel to keep generators running. The UAE and Qatar have pledged US$2 million and US$9 million respectively to fund emergency fuel, however the fuel has not yet been received by hospitals and as of Monday 12 February, these health centres are still only able to offer basic and emergency services, particularly during the few hours per day when they receive mains electricity.

Meanwhile, Gaza’s health sector continues to decline. The latest data from the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza shows that 45% of essential medicines are now at zero stock, meaning less than a month’s supply available on shelves. This is far above the 34% zero-stock rate in January 2017. Among those services most affected by shortages are haematology and cancer treatment (63% zero stock), primary healthcare (55% zero stock) and haeomodialysis (32% zero stock).

On Sunday, all cleaning services stopped at MoH hospitals as cleaners went on strike to protest the non-payment of salaries for several months. This has led to the closure of 17 out of 18 operating rooms and cancellation of all but emergency surgeries in Gaza’s largest hospital, Al Shifa, as well as increasing the risk to patients of hospital-borne infections. Our team in Gaza have reported distressing scenes inside hospitals, with medical disposables not removed, bins in care units overflowing, and floors contaminated with blood.

Though the Rafah crossing with Egypt was opened for three days for the first time in 40 days, only a few hundred Palestinians were able to cross, including some patients.

MAP continues to urge the international community, including the UK Government, to urgently help to address immediate humanitarian needs in Gaza by funding urgently-needed fuel for hospitals and offering further assistance to Gaza’s deteriorating health system. Simultaneously, governments must seek sustainable solutions to Gaza’s protracted crisis by helping bring Gaza’s closure - deemed by the International Committee of the Red Cross to be “a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law” - to an end.


Take action

Please email your MP today, and ask them to urge the UK government to take action and save lives in Gaza.