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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
11 January 2017

Ref: 11 (January 11, 2017)

Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip

Summary: November 2016

Difficulties of access through Erez crossing

High volume of repeat permit requests: The sharp increase of total applications in November reflects the high number of reapplications for patients who were denied or delayed in previous months.

Permit approval rates critically low: Of 2,794 patient permit applications to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in November, 50.18% were approved. October (with 44.08% approved) and November represent the lowest and second lowest approval rates, respectively, recorded by WHO since April 2009. 169 patients (6.05%) were denied permits, including 13 children and 13 elderly persons over 60 years. Among those denied was a patient requiring urgent heart surgery. 1,223 patients (43.77%) received no response, including 323 children and 130 elderly people over 60 (Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza).

Most patients' companions are denied/delayed permits: The approval rate for permit applications of patient companions was 42.7%; about 7% of the companions were denied permits and the remaining 50% were still pending at the time of the patients’ hospital dates.

Security interrogations: 33 patients, among them 14 females, were requested by the General Security Services for interviews at Erez during November. 11 were approved.

Humanitarian health workers through Erez: Of the 18 WHO requests, only nine (50%) were approved: 4 were denied and 5 were pending.

Limited Rafah exit in November

Access to Egypt: According to Palestinian officials at Rafah terminal, the Rafah border terminal was open in both directions for 5 days in November allowing 100 patients to travel for health reasons to Egypt. 8 pallets of drugs donated by an Egyptian pharmaceutical company entered Gaza.

Ministry of Health referrals in November

The Ministry of Health issued 2,156 referral decisions (benefiting 1,941 patients) in November for outside care with an estimated cost of NIS 9,783,322. The top 5 needed specialties for Gaza patients were in oncology, paediatrics, hematology, ophthalmology and orthopaedics.

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