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.