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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
15 April 2003

Health Inforum News
Volume 2, No.25, 15 April 2003

Welcome to the twenty-five edition of the Health Inforum Newsletter.

In our ongoing efforts to provide useful information to the whole of the health community, we continue to welcome any comments or suggestions you might have to help us improve this newsletter.

In this Issue:

During his visit to Saudi Arabia: Dr. Sheibi discussed problems facing the ministry and
the increasing suffering of the Palestinian people

Jerusalem Times report: Dr. Ahmed Shibi, Minister of Health, said that Saudi Arabia has agreed to several Palestinian demands that should resolve some of the problems impeding the work of the ministry, including the lack of medicine, equipment and ambulances.

Dr. Shibi returned recently from a work trip to Saudi Arabia, where he discussed problems facing the ministry and the increasing suffering of the Palestinian people, which is targeted constantly by occupation. Dr. Shibi explained that the demands involve medicine supplies, medical equipment, ambulances, and a number of projects that would serve the Palestinian people.

Saudi Arabia announced it was dispatching 41 new ambulances and a large quantity of medicine to Palestine to meet the growing need of hospitals and first aid centers there.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Shaibi received the vehicles and medicine during a special function organized in Riyadh by the Saudi Committee for the Support of Al-Quds Intifada.

MoH: 31 Palestinians were killed and 273 were injured since April 1st ,2003

Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that that 31 Palestinians were killed and 273 injured as a result of the conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory during the period of April 1-13, 2003.

MoH added that the Israeli army surrounded Dr. Thabet Thabet in Tulkarem on April 2nd 2003 and searched the health workers in the hospital.

Medicine Supply Distribution

Health Inforum continues its efforts to facilitate Drug and Disposables distribution from the MoH Central Drug Stores in Ramallah to other districts.

We would like to thank ICRC, World Food Program (WFP), UNRWA and Italian Cooperation for their tremendous support to facilitate medicine distribution in the oPt.
Ministry of health managed to distribute medicine to other districts, which are not mentioned in the table.

The following table shows the distribution of drugs and disposables by location, date and

USAID Funds Food Security Assessment

USAID, working in cooperation with the European Union, is funding a food security and nutrition assessment mission led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO.) Currently underway in the West Bank and Gaza, the mission's purpose is to conduct a comprehensive food security assessment. Data from the assessment will enable the Palestinian Authority and international aid organizations to develop a national food security strategy for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as to better target food relief interventions. Results of the assessment will also enable the World Food Program - the main provider of emergency food relief to the Palestinian people - to better target its efforts for the next twelve months.

The food security mission team consists of seven international experts, including an agro-economist, a vulnerable groups advisor, and two socio-economists. The Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) methodology has been defined, and 35 field monitors from the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) staff, including UNRWA volunteers, have been trained to carry out fieldwork. Fieldwork is expected to be completed by May 2003.

Review of the new data will reveal the extent of Palestinian household access to sufficient quantities of safe and nutritious foods, as well as the extent to which dietary requirements for normal development, and an active and healthy life, are being met.

Concurrently, Care International is conducting a Household Food & Security Assessment as a component to the assessment. USAID funding for both projects totals more than $464,000.

Health Sector Bi-weekly Report, Number 10, 26 March 2003

This issue highlights food security, water availability, and issues of health service access with emphasis on differences between West Bank and Gaza and variations within West Bank.

Health Services
In this report access to health service data is analyzed in two periods of 10 rounds or 20 weeks each. The first period covers 17 May 2002 to 3 October 2002 and the second period covers 4 October 2002 to 26 February 2003. At the households, access to specialized services remains difficult mainly for clients who seek diabetic and chemotherapy treatment (Graph 15).

· In the first 10 rounds 30.1% (404/1222) of those who needed emergency care had no access compared to 8.4% (69/820) in the last 10 rounds.
· In the first 10 rounds 43.1% (114/265) of those who needed diabetic care had no access compared to 15.6% (49/314) in the last 10 rounds.
· In the first 10 rounds 63.9% (46/72) of those who needed dialysis treatment had no access compared to 43.3% (13/30) in the last 10 rounds.

· Cumulatively out of 6400 households surveyed and reflecting the two weeks preceding the survey, shortage for more than one day in relation to amount of food and specific types of food consumed is as follows:
· Decrease in amount of food consumed: 3657 households (57.1%).
· Decrease in meat consumption: 4250 households (66.4%).
· Decrease in bread, rice and potato consumption: 1618 households (25.3%).
· Decrease in milk consumption: 2911 households (45.5%).
· Decrease in fruits and vegetables consumption: 3951 households (61.7%).

For more Information, please visit our website:

Weekly Press Release for the Period 28 March to 11 April, 2003

Nablus, 10 April 2003 (10:10): Israeli soldiers at the Howwara checkpoint, saying that the checkpoint was closed, forced an ambulance coming from Ramallah to drive around to the Qusin checkpoint to get into Nablus. Once in Nablus, the ambulance was detained near the middle of the city for 2.5 hours, alongside of PRCS ambulances from Qalqiliya and Jenin, as well as other private ambulances. After being searched by Israeli soldiers, they were allowed to pass.

Nablus, 8 April 2003 (11:50): At the Howwara checkpoint, Israeli soldiers stopped an ambulance. The ambulance was carrying a man with 6 blood units for his mother, who was undergoing surgery in Ramallah. Israeli soldiers ordered the medics and passenger to leave the ambulance in order to search the vehicle. One of the soldiers attacked the driver, putting his hands around the driver’s neck, and hitting him in the eyes. Other soldiers held their guns to the driver’s back. Then they tied his hands behind his back, and pushed him with their guns. The soldiers threatened the other staff members with their guns, and told them to return to Nablus. The driver refused. They threatened him, saying that if they ever saw him at the checkpoint again, they would make things difficult for him. The ambulance was released at 13:20, and allowed to continue on to Ramallah.

Nablus, 5 April 2003 (13:03): An ambulance was stopped at the Shafi Shamron checkpoint for half an hour. The ambulance was released after coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Ramallah, 9 April 2003 (11:00): Israeli soldiers at the DCO checkpoint stopped an ambulance for one hour. They claimed that it took them that long to check the IDs of the ambulance crew. The ambulance was released after coordination with the ICRC.

Bethlehem, 5 April 2003 (13:50): An ambulance, going from Al Husseini Hospital in Bethlehem to Al Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem, was stopped at the Gilo checkpoint. The ambulance was transporting a patient with third degree burns. Soldiers at the checkpoint detained the ambulance for one half hour while they examined the patient, thinking that he may have been burnt in an explosion. Eventually they let the ambulance pass. When the ambulance crew brought the patient to the hospital, Israeli soldiers arrived at the hospital, took the patient’s ID, and asked the doctors questions about the nature of the patient’s injuries.

Nablus, 2 April 2003 (13:30): Soldiers at the Shafi Shamron checkpoint stopped an ambulance that was on its way back from dropping off a patient in Jenin. The ambulance was followed by a car with PRCS staff. One of the soldiers at the checkpoint pointed his gun in the ambulance driver’s face, and told him to go back where he came from. Upon coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the ambulance was allowed to pass after having waited for 3 hours.

Nablus, 30 March 2003 (19:10): An ambulance, on its way back from Al-Injeeli Hospital, was stopped at the Howwara checkpoint. Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint commanded the ambulance crew to leave the vehicle and stand outside in cold weather. The ambulance was detained for two hours, and was released after coordination with the ICRC.

Jenin, 31 March 2003 (17:30): An ambulance in transit to Jenin from the Za’atara checkpoint was stopped by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers verbally abused the ambulance crew. The soldiers made them take boxes of medicine out of the ambulance, and then threw the boxes on the ground. They demanded that the patient, who was in delicate condition while recovering from a heart attack, leave the ambulance. After one hour the soldiers let the ambulance continue. At the Shafi Shamron checkpoint, the ambulance was stopped for 40 minutes. Soldiers at the checkpoint were very aggressive, pushing the ambulance crew, making them strip, and verbally abusing them. They searched the ambulance, opening everything and breaking things that could not be opened, to the extent that they threatened to shoot the tires of the vehicle to see what was inside. Eventually the ambulance was allowed to pass.

Qalqiliya, 30 March 2003 (11:30): On the way back to Qalqiliya from Nablus, an ambulance, transporting patients from the Al Watani Hospital, was stopped at the Beit Eba checkpoint. The Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint forced the patients out of the ambulance, and detained the vehicle for one half hour before allowing it to pass.

Jericho, 4 April 2003 (12:20): Israeli soldiers detained an ambulance at the Container checkpoint in Jericho for 2 hours. The ambulance was transporting two patients from Bethlehem to the border, so that they could receive medical treatment in Jordan. The delay was long enough that the ambulance was forced to bring the patients back to their homes, since there was not enough time left to get them through the border.

Jericho, 31 March 2003 (13:45): An ambulance was detained at the Al-Nu‘ameh checkpoint for 45 minutes. The Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint made the ambulance wait 60 meters from the checkpoint while they checked IDs.

Jericho, 30 March 2003 (06:40): At the Al-Nu‘ameh checkpoint, an ambulance waited for 15 minutes before it was even allowed to approach the checkpoint to be searched. When the soldiers began to check the vehicle, the driver explained to them that the ambulance was going to pick up a pregnant woman who was suffering from vaginal bleeding, and that it was an emergency. Despite this fact, the soldiers detained the ambulance until 07:30, examining everything down to the emergency toolbox that was screwed shut on the bottom of the ambulance. By the time the ambulance crew reached the woman, she had lost her baby.

Bethlehem, 31 March 2003 (07:00): At the entrance to Hossan Village, Israeli soldiers detained an ambulance for one half hour. The ambulance was responding to a call to pick up a patient.

For more information please contact Press Office at: Email:

The International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestine Red Crescent Society
sign a new cooperation agreement

Jerusalem, 3rd April 2003 (ICRC) -The President of the Palestine Red Crescent (PRCS), Younis Al-Khatib, and the Head of Delegation of the new agreement of cooperation for the year 2003. Cooperation between the two institutions was formalized in 1992, and since developed substantially.

Strengthening capacity and enhancing respect for the medical mission of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is one of the ICRC's most important activities in the Occupied and Autonomous Territories. "This cooperation has one central purpose", says Francois Bellon, "to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without discrimination, and to protect human dignity." The 2003 cooperation agreement involves crucial support for the activities of the PRCS including:

· The Emergency Medical Service (EMS), supported by the ICRC since 1996, boasts now a fleet of over 100 ambulances, with 15 EMS stations and 17 sub-stations. Emergency medical technicians receive on-going training as well as support on how to cope with the stresses of working in the current difficult context. The EMS service will be re-launched in 2003, with newly painted and repaired ambulances. A parallel media campaign will promote respect for the emblem as well as the correct use of the 101 emergency number.

· The Disaster Management program, which enables the PRCS to respond to conflict-related emergencies and natural disasters. Sub-warehouses in Nablus and Hebron will be re-stocked and the PRCS' logistics capacity developed.

· Dissemination, which includes the training of up to 400 staff and volunteers of the PRCS and local partners in international humanitarian law. It also involves training for PRCS volunteer teams to promote safe behavior in areas where unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices are a danger.

· Linking the PRCS to the tracing network of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which works on re-establishing family links in times of conflict and natural disasters.

· The ICRC coordinates the activities of the International Red Cross and Red

· Crescent Movement, and works together with other National Societies who also contribute to PRCS' programs.


Please feel free to contact us for information at: Health Inforum, c/o the Italian Cooperation, Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem, Tel: 02 532 7447, Fax: 02 532 2904

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