Three years of curfews, closures and conflict in the West Bank and Gaza have plunged two-thirds of the population into dire poverty, increased hunger and restricted access to health and education. Today UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the largest humanitarian agency in the region, launches an emergency appeal to the international community asking for $193 million to relieve some of the suffering in the occupied territories in 2004.
For more information please click| (full text of UNRWA Emergency Appeal 2004)
Health Inforum held Coordination Meeting in Rafah
Health Inforum organized the last Health Emergency Coordination Meeting in Rafah (January 13,2004). This meeting wasthe first at a district level in Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, district meetings have already been held in Nablus and Hebron.
The meeting of Rafah was hosted in the Municipality meeting hall. The large participation of the MoH officials showed a high interest from the MoH in these meetings . Dr. Abdul Rahman Barqawi, the MoH Director General, co-chaired the meeting with Dr. Silvia Pivetta, WHO, head of Gaza office. Dr. Emad Shaat, Deputy Mayor of Rafah welcomed the attendants on behalf of the Mayor of Rafah, and wished that Rafah will be the first of further meetings in the other districts of Gaza Strip.
Dr. Abdul Rahman Barqwi, on behalf of the Minister of Health,, gave a briefing on the joint activities of the MoH and WHO/Health Inforum. He emphasized the importance of having this meeting organized in Rafah, one of the most affected area by the conflict, and stressed on the need that the international community directly witness what is happening in this district, where the extent of destruction reached a level of disaster.
Dr. Silvia Pivetta underlined that this meeting is part of a larger coordination framework sustained by the MoH and WHO and supported by Health Inforum. She clarified the objectives of the present meeting: to review the district mechanisms of emergency preparedness and response to acute emergency, in order to make the best use of resources already in place, and to identify the needs for further support to the health system. This also in the light of the recommendations provided within the MoH National Emergency Plan.
Dr. Sharif Sehwail, the District health officer, gave a presentation on the primary health care services in the district, followed by Dr. Ali Mousa, Director of Abu Yousef El-Najar hospital, that briefed the participants on the district secondary care services.
Among the several national and international agencies present in the meeting, UNICEF, MSF Greece and France, and the Gaza Community Mental Health Center briefed the participants about their activities in the district, showing a great interest and commitment towards this particularly vulnerable population. Also, OCHA informed about its special attention in monitoring the situation in Rafah, with particular focus on access problems, and reporting it to national and international attention.
Dr. Faisal Abu Shahla, MoH Director General of hospitals, agreed that the health of the population in Rafah is extremely affected by the conflict and stressed on the need for an effort in coordination in order to deliver the most effective intervention. He proposed to the health agencies to have a district working committee that includes, besides the MoH district representatives, also the main health organizations working in Rafah.
Dr. Silvia Pivetta emphasized the importance of a cooperation among health providers, working together in the district, also in order to monitor the health needs that during emergency phases are extremely unstable, and to assess the effectiveness of the response.
The recommendation of having a district-working group was agreed by all stakeholders in the meeting, and will be followed up by the MoH with the support of WHO and Health Inforum.
Quality improvement project in Gaza hold two seminars on drug prescription pattern
In the subject of Drug prescription, the Health System Development Project -HSDPI World Bank TF(23455) – represented by the Quality Improvement Project and Management Information System Program organized two seminars on drug prescription pattern at Remal ( Gaza ) and Ramallah (West bank ) primary health care clinics.
The first seminar was held in Remal Clinic conference room on Sunday 11th Jan 2004 and the second was held between Gaza (Remal clinic) and West Bank (Public health laboratory) via video conference on 12th Jan 2004
The seminar shared the data on drug prescription pattern with Senior MoH Key personnel and representatives of national and international health agencies.
§ The seminar aimed to achieve the following objectives:
§ To encourage the use of data for decision making
§ To explore the importance of data in identifying areas for improvement
§ To understand the drug prescription pattern of physician.
The seminar included two parts: part one was presented by Mr Mazen Skeik, MIS consultant. It explored the results of the Clinic Information System (CIS) in general and pharmacy module in particular, while part two was presented by Lubna Al Sharif , Health Care Quality Expert, which shared the results of the “drug – drug interaction pilot study” at both Remal and Ramallah clinics.
The results drew the attention to the crucial role of the Management Information System not only to manage the administrative, but also the clinical aspects of the clinics.
The results emphasized the importance of implementing an appointment system especially in the chronic disease clinic in a way that regulate the flow of patients though over the month. Moreover, it underlined the role of the computerized patient case management and a complete patient treatment plan for a better drug management.
In addition, the results of the “drug – drug interaction pilot study” explored the important role of clinical pharmacologists in the process of drug prescription and in reducing adverse drug events. Moreover it raised the attention on the need of continuous education of both pharmacists and physicians in the concept of patient safety and adverse drug events.
PRCS Health Incidents at Checkpoints (December 27, 03- January 9,04)
Bethlehem, 31 December 2003 (16:00): Israeli soldiers at the Howwara checkpoint stopped a PRCS ambulance on its way to were transporting a patient in critical from Beit Jala Hospital to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus City. After searching the ambulance, the crew was allowed to proceed with the transfer. However, upon attempting to return back to Beit Jala from the said checkpoint, the same soldiers denied their access .One of the soldiers attacked the ambulance driver and shouted verbal insults. The ambulance was finally allowed to pass after being detained for one hour.
Nablus, 26, 27 December 2003: During the Israeli Army incursion into the Old City and Balata Refugee Camp, five PRCS volunteers from the PRCS Nablus Branch, while trying to assist the residents of the area, were detained between 2:00pm to 3:00am of the following morning.
Nablus, 3 January 2004 (08:40): A PRCS ambulance was called to transport an injured person from Al-Sheikh Musalam neighbourhood in the Old City to Al-Watani Hospital. Upon arrival, the medics administered emergency treatment in order to stabilize the seriously injured person The ambulance was stopped by Israeli soldiers at the entrance of the hospital who detained the ambulance for 10 minutes. The man was later pronounced dead by hospital officials.
Ramallah, 4 January 2004 (18:00): A PRCS ambulance was on its way to transport to Hadassah Hospital in East Jerusalem two persons seriously injured by an accident in Al-Ram area, south of Ramallah, after being given permission by the Israeli soldiers to enter Jerusalem. At the entrance of the hospital, Israeli guards refused the ambulance passage. After thirty minutes of delay, the crew was obliged to carry the patients to the hospital’s emergency entrance by foot, using stretchers.
Nablus: On 11 January 2004, a PRCS medic was beaten, detained and threatened with fatal harm by Israeli soldiers during a routine transfer of patients from Nablus to Ramallah Hospital. The ambulance was carrying a child with a cardiac condition and a disabled person suffering from leg injuries.
According to the medics’ affidavit, the ambulance, after crossing the Howwara checkpoint (Nablus), It was stopped by Israeli soldiers at a flying checkpoint on the Al-Sawia road . There, soldiers searched the ambulance and checked the crew’s and patient’s IDs and then refused to allow the ambulance to pass. Half an hour later, the ambulance was allowed to pass after coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). At another flying checkpoint, on road number 90 near AinYabrood village (Ramallah), Israeli soldiers stopped the ambulance again, checking IDs and searching the ambulance for the third time. A soldier ordered to one of the medics to get out of the ambulance, and as he did, the soldier pushed him against the ambulance.
When the medic asked the soldier why he pushed him, the soldier began hitting the medic on his face and back. The medic then tried to defend himself by taking a hold of the soldier’s hands, but four more soldiers including the head officer continued to beat the medic. The medic was then thrown to the ground and hands tied behind his back. At that point, the ambulance driver tried to assist his colleague, but he too was beaten and ordered to leave the area or else he would have been shot.
The soldiers continued to beat the medic for another half hour while his hands were still tied behind his back. He was then blind folded and taken to Ofra Military Detention Camp. There, the soldiers continued to beat and verbally abuse the medic until he was finally released from the detention camp one hour later.
In addition to the above, the following table lists incidents of denial and delay of access during this reporting period.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please feel free to contact us for information at:
Health Inforum, c/o Italian Cooperation. Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem
Tel: 02 532 7447, Fax: 02 532 2904
Health Inforum, c/o WHO, Gaza office, Al-Bayed building, Al-Halbi Str.
Tel: 08-2822033, Fax: 02-2845409
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.healthinforum.org
Health Inforum posts daily news and announcements concerning health issues on its website: www.healthinforum.org. We welcome your inputs, comments and suggestions.