People suffering from chronic diseases risk “death” in Gaza

“They are forgotten and neglected, they find no cure and death may soon overtake them.” This is how Palestinian doctors and officials who spoke to the Al-Hurra website raise the alarm about patients suffering from chronic diseases in Gaza, in light of the situation and the near collapse of the healthcare system in the Strip.

The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday of a crisis facing people with chronic diseases in Gaza, with more than a thousand patients requiring dialysis to survive.

He noted that there are more than 2,000 patients being treated for cancer, 45,000 people suffering from cardiovascular disease and more than 60,000 patients suffering from diabetes.

People with chronic illnesses “suffer”

The spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, reveals “a serious crisis affecting patients suffering from chronic diseases in the Gaza Strip, in light of the collapse of the healthcare system in the Strip”.

There are more than 130 premature babies in incubators, 160 patients on ventilators and 1,100 patients with kidney failure, he told the Al-Hurra website.

He points out that there are 9,000 cancer patients and more than 200 caesarean sections were performed every day, but today “they are not receiving medical services,” he says.

Al-Qudra stresses that “they need to obtain urgent and basic health services in light of the shortage of medicines, health supplies and other assistance, such as fuel, water and food.”

Disaster looms on the horizon

The press officer of the Palestinian Red Crescent, Raed Al-Nims, confirms that the patients most affected by the “collapse of Gaza’s healthcare system” are those suffering from chronic diseases.

Due to the scarcity of basic resources, the lack of treatment and medicines and the inability of patients to leave Gaza to receive some treatment in the West Bank and Israel since the start of the war, most of them are “at risk”. as he explains on the Al-Hurra website.

According to Agence France-Presse, before October 7, around 100 patients a day had to leave the Gaza Strip to obtain specialized healthcare services due to the lack of specialized healthcare services.

In light of ongoing Israeli bombing and the lack of “water, medicine or electricity,” there is a “looming disaster on the horizon,” especially since those suffering from chronic illnesses are “most at risk if the healthcare system collapses completely. “

On the other hand, the Israeli army’s spokesperson unit previously stated to the “Al-Hurra” website that “the terrorist organization Hamas, in flagrant violation of international law, operates within civilian structures (such as hospitals), and thus uses Gaza residents as human shields and exposes the citizens of the Strip. “Gaza is at risk.”

He added: “The army is working to evacuate the civilian population from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south, which is an area that has been defined as safer and where humanitarian infrastructure is available.”

He stressed that “not harming civilians during raids in the Gaza Strip is a common interest for the citizens of Gaza and the State of Israel.”

“In the wind”

Speaking to the Al-Hurra website, the head of the orthopedic surgery department of the Arab National Hospital “Al-Baptist” in Gaza, Dr. Fadl Naeem, warns of the lack of attention to patients suffering from “diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, asthma , blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases”.

Since the beginning of the war, people suffering from chronic diseases have been “forgotten and neglected”, but suffer daily from the lack of medicines and treatments, and from the closure of emergency clinics, which puts them “in danger,” as he said.

He points out that “lack of treatments and lack of regular health follow-up” can ultimately lead to serious complications among people with chronic diseases.

In his speech he addresses the cancer patients who are being treated at the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, which after having stopped functioning, some patients were transferred to various hospitals in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to “follow the their condition.”

But treatment and monitoring of their health condition “will not be carried out optimally,” especially since most cancer patients need treatment abroad, whether in the West Bank, inland Palestine or Egypt, and with the closure of border crossings, they lose “the possibility of being treated for the incurable disease,” according to Naeem.

On the brink of death

In turn, the director of the European Hospital in Gaza, Dr. Youssef Al-Akkad, emphasizes the need for cancer patients to receive special treatments, starting with “chemotherapy sessions, then radiotherapy and some hormonal drugs.”

Radiotherapy has not been available in Gaza for years, forcing hospitals to refer patients for treatment outside the Strip, which is not currently the case, as explained to the Al-Hurra website.

As for chemotherapy, 50% of these treatments are not “available” at all in the Gaza Strip and, in light of the ongoing war and the closure of border crossings, the situation has become “more difficult”, according to Al- Aqqad.

He stresses that these patients need “regular healthcare, constant follow-up and regular care,” but in light of the ongoing war it is impossible to “cure them optimally.”

Al-Aqqad warns of complications that could affect people with chronic diseases in general, and cancer patients in particular, and if they do not receive treatment in time, their fate is “death”.

“Insufficient” aid.

On Wednesday, 61 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

According to the Associated Press, 272 humanitarian trucks have entered the Gaza Strip since November 1.

Despite the slight increase in supplies, according to Reuters, the number of humanitarian trucks entering Gaza, an average of 14 trucks per day, is still small compared to the 400 trucks entering Gaza residents daily at normal times.

Therefore, the former dean of the Palestine College of Nursing, Dr. Nabil Al-Najjar, emphasizes that this aid is “insufficient” to help patients suffering from chronic diseases.

Diabetes, hypertension, dialysis and cancer patients require various treatments, some of which are available in Gaza, but “UNRWA clinics servicing the Ministry of Health are currently closed and doctors are not allowed to trade the cures in stock within them,” according to his speech to the Al-Hurra website.

Even though aid is flowing into Gaza, there is “no treatment for those suffering from chronic diseases,” and therefore there is a real crisis that these patients face, Al-Najjar points out.

He points out that “treatment has decreased significantly,” making the fate of those suffering from chronic diseases “imminent death.”

According to Israeli authorities, the attack launched by Hamas on October 7 resulted in the killing of more than 1,400 people in Israel, most of them civilians, including children and women.

Israel responded with intense shelling of Gaza, killing 9,061 people, including 3,760 children, 2,326 women and wounding 32,000, according to the latest statistics from Hamas’s Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

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