Access restrictions tighten
• Rafah border: The Rafah border with Egypt was completely closed by Egypt in February in both directions; no patients were able to travel to Egypt for medical treatment and no medical aid or medical delegations entered Gaza.
• Access through Erez: 2 in 10 patients who applied for Israeli permits to travel through Erez checkpoint to access medical treatment in February were not approved. Of the 1,429 patients who applied, 63 patients (15 females and 48 males, including 8 children and 2 elderly) were denied permits, and 218 patients (80 females and 138 males, including 69 children and 12 elderly people over 60) received no response to their applications, and missed their medical treatment appointments.
• Interrogations: 10 patients (5 females and 5 males) were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit to cross Erez. None was approved later.
• The District Liaison office of the MoH reported that access for patients who do not have Israeli issued ID cards recently became very difficult. This category includes people who entered Gaza legally with Israeli permits but their permit expired.
• 1 war-related casualty patient was approved for referral during February, referred by the Ministry of Health for vascular surgery in Makassed hospital.
New referral guidelines, fewer MOH referrals
• Higher numbers: According to the Ministry of Health Referral Abroad Department (RAD) in Gaza, 1,449 patients were issued referrals in February to non-MoH health facilities for specialized treatment, higher than in January but 4.1% less than the monthly average in 2014. Oncology treatment was the main reason for referrals outside Gaza.
•Gender gap: The gender gap in referrals was the widest since 2010: 61.01% male patients versus 39.99% female patients. 23.6% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 19.25% were for patients aged over 60 years.
• Estimated cost of referrals for January: NIS 7,576,623 (MoH Ramallah data).