Access restrictions tighten
• Rafah border: The Rafah border with Egypt has been opened for 5 days only this year (January: 3 days; March: 2 days). 14 patients travelled to Egypt for medical treatment in March and a shipment of medical aid and 2 ambulances were allowed to enter Gaza.
• Access through Erez: 1,615 patients applied for permits to cross Erez checkpoint: 82.29% of patients were approved, 16.04% received no response to their applications (259 patients, including 80 children) and 1.67% were denied permits ( 27 patients, including 2 children and 4 elderly) were denied permits.
• Interrogations: 17 patients (3 females and 14 males) were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit and 2 were later approved.
MOH referrals increase significantly
• March was the highest number of referrals in one month since WHO began monitoring access to health care: According to the Ministry of Health Referral Abroad Department (RAD) in Gaza, 2,191 referrals were issued in March to non-MoH health facilities for specialized treatment, 45% more than the monthly average in 2014.
Gender gap: The gender gap in referrals remained wide: 58.47% male patients versus 41.53% female patients. 27% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 18.07% were for patients aged over 60 years.
• Estimated cost of referrals for March: NIS 10,968,467.