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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
13 July 2017

Ref: 5
Published 13 July

Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip

Summary: May 2017

Further deteriorating access for Gaza patients needing referral for health care outside Gaza

Marked drop in number of referral decisions by the Ministry of Health for Gaza patients: the lowest in 30 months and 28% lower than the monthly average for 2016

52-year-old cancer patient died awaiting an Israeli permit to access health care (see page 5)

Orthopaedic patient arrested at Erez when exiting Gaza for medical treatment (see page 5)

Woman accompanying patient arrested by Israeli security at Erez crossing when returning to Gaza (see page 5)

More than half of patients denied/delayed permits: Of 2,282 patient applications for a permit to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in May 2017 1,077 (47.2%) were approved, 47 (2.1%) were denied, and 1,158 (50.7%) were delayed with no response by the time of the patient's hospital appointment. Among those delayed were 255 children under the age of 18 years and 141 people aged 60 years or older (Palestinian Health Liaison and Coordination Office in Gaza).

Three in every five patient companions denied/delayed permits: The approval rate of permit applications for patient companions was 39%. 2% of companions were denied permits and the remaining 59% still had their application pending by the time of the patient's scheduled hospital appointment date.

Security interrogation of patients: 21 patients (16 males; 5 females), were requested for interview by the General Security Services at Erez during May. None was approved a permit to travel for health care.

No access to Egypt: Rafah terminal opened only four days to allow return of Gaza people stranded in Egypt. 3,068 people and the bodies of two deceased patients returned to Gaza.

Ban on security interviews removed for patients only: Gaza de facto authority partially removed a previous ban on iterviews with Israeli security .

New Israeli restrictions on Gaza patient applications came into effect on 7th May 2017

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