High number of Erez permit applications, highest rate of denials in 5 years
• Erez crossing: 2,121 referral patients applied for permits to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in August. According to the Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza, only 72.56% of patients were approved, 19.36% received no response to their applications (347 patients, including 90 children) and 11.08% were denied permits (235 patients, including 6 children and 21 elderly patient over 60 years old). The cause of August decline in access is not clear. 11 patients (9 males; 2 females) were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit, 5 were later approved. 93% of permit applications were from MoH referral patients and 7% were financed by NGOs and other donors.
Rafah terminal opened 4 days
• Rafah border: Rafah terminal was open on 4 days during August, allowing 21 patients to cross into Egypt. 61 pallets (equivalent to cubic meters) of medical aid were allowed entry into Gaza. No medical delegations entered Gaza through Rafah during the month. The border was open on only 19 days so far this year, allowing only 148 patients to cross into Egypt for health care. Before the July 2013 closure, more than 4,000 Gaza residents crossed Rafah monthly for health-related access.
MoH referrals in August
• Ministry of Health referred 2,077 Gaza patients in August for outside care. The August totals were 18% more than the monthly average of the first half of 2015: According to the Ministry of Health Referral Abroad Department (RAD) in Gaza, the main referral specialties needed in August were oncology, orthopaedic surgery, nuclear medicine, hematology and ophthalmology.
• Gender gap: The gender gap in Gaza referrals remained very wide: 55.71% male patients versus 44.29% female patients. 25.76% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 17.19% were for patients aged over 60 years.
• Estimated cost of referrals for August: NIS 10,460, 087.