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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
15 January 2004

Health Inforum News
Volume 3, No.43, 15 January 2004

Welcome to the forty-third issue of the Health Inforum Newsletter.
In our ongoing efforts to provide useful information to the health community, we welcome any comments or suggestions that you might have to help us to improve this newsletter. Please help us to distribute this update by forwarding it to your colleagues and friends. If you wish to subscribe, please send an email to

In this Issue:

§ The European Community supports Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem
§ $193 Million in Emergency Relief Needed for Refugees in the West Bank and Gaza in 2004
§ Health Inforum held its Coordination Meeting in Rafah
§ Quality improvement project in Gaza hold two seminars on drug prescription pattern.
§ PRCS Health Incidents at Checkpoints (December 27,03 to January 9,04)
§ Drugs needed for the Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC) in Nablus
§ A cardiac catheterization for a nine months old infant in oPt

The European Community supports Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem

The European Community supports the activities of Makassed Hospital with 3.7 million € over a 2 year period in order to continue providing health care to the Palestinian population. The hospital will benefit from a financial support for its operating costs. In order to guarantee the sustainability of the hospital, the support will be accompanied by the implementation of managerial and structural changes at the hospital committed to undertake.

The specific objective of the support is to strengthen the functioning of Makassed Hospital, especially the supply of priority services to the Palestinian population with a special focus to the poor.

The expected results of the cooperation between the Makassed Hospital and the European Community are:.

Strengthened management capacities of the hospital with a view to improving its efficiency and sustainability on a long-term basis
Maintenance of quality and availability of the health care services provided by Makassed Hospital
Providing certain basic regional secondary care hospital services:

§ In time serving and acting as a centre of excellence on a supra regional basis
§ Acting in some cases as a referral centre for complex cases
§ Providing tertiary care services
§ Supporting medical research
§ Supporting undergraduate teaching during practical years and having a framework to continuous medical education
§ Supporting post-graduate medical specialization programmes

It is also intended to develop and provide Makassed Hospital with an integrated up to date Hospital Management Information system covering the clinical departments, services and the administration and activities concerning the procurement and management of drugs.

The carrying through of the many activities of the project will take place in close cooperation between the Makassed Islamic Charitable Society, the Health Committee in Jerusalem and the European Community. Furthermore there will be cooperation with the other hospitals in the East Jerusalem Area.

Many thanks for Mr. Sten Bang Christensen (Euro Health Group), the Technical Consultant of project for providing Health Inforum with this information.

$193 Million in Emergency Relief Needed for Refugees in the West Bank and Gaza in 2004

Three years of curfews, closures and conflict in the West Bank and Gaza have plunged two-thirds of the population into dire poverty, increased hunger and restricted access to health and education. Today UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the largest humanitarian agency in the region, launches an emergency appeal to the international community asking for $193 million to relieve some of the suffering in the occupied territories in 2004.

For more information please click| (full text of UNRWA Emergency Appeal 2004)

Health Inforum held Coordination Meeting in Rafah

Health Inforum organized the last Health Emergency Coordination Meeting in Rafah (January 13,2004). This meeting wasthe first at a district level in Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, district meetings have already been held in Nablus and Hebron.

The meeting of Rafah was hosted in the Municipality meeting hall. The large participation of the MoH officials showed a high interest from the MoH in these meetings . Dr. Abdul Rahman Barqawi, the MoH Director General, co-chaired the meeting with Dr. Silvia Pivetta, WHO, head of Gaza office. Dr. Emad Shaat, Deputy Mayor of Rafah welcomed the attendants on behalf of the Mayor of Rafah, and wished that Rafah will be the first of further meetings in the other districts of Gaza Strip.

Dr. Abdul Rahman Barqwi, on behalf of the Minister of Health,, gave a briefing on the joint activities of the MoH and WHO/Health Inforum. He emphasized the importance of having this meeting organized in Rafah, one of the most affected area by the conflict, and stressed on the need that the international community directly witness what is happening in this district, where the extent of destruction reached a level of disaster.

Dr. Silvia Pivetta underlined that this meeting is part of a larger coordination framework sustained by the MoH and WHO and supported by Health Inforum. She clarified the objectives of the present meeting: to review the district mechanisms of emergency preparedness and response to acute emergency, in order to make the best use of resources already in place, and to identify the needs for further support to the health system. This also in the light of the recommendations provided within the MoH National Emergency Plan.

Dr. Sharif Sehwail, the District health officer, gave a presentation on the primary health care services in the district, followed by Dr. Ali Mousa, Director of Abu Yousef El-Najar hospital, that briefed the participants on the district secondary care services.

Among the several national and international agencies present in the meeting, UNICEF, MSF Greece and France, and the Gaza Community Mental Health Center briefed the participants about their activities in the district, showing a great interest and commitment towards this particularly vulnerable population. Also, OCHA informed about its special attention in monitoring the situation in Rafah, with particular focus on access problems, and reporting it to national and international attention.

Dr. Faisal Abu Shahla, MoH Director General of hospitals, agreed that the health of the population in Rafah is extremely affected by the conflict and stressed on the need for an effort in coordination in order to deliver the most effective intervention. He proposed to the health agencies to have a district working committee that includes, besides the MoH district representatives, also the main health organizations working in Rafah.

Dr. Silvia Pivetta emphasized the importance of a cooperation among health providers, working together in the district, also in order to monitor the health needs that during emergency phases are extremely unstable, and to assess the effectiveness of the response.

The recommendation of having a district-working group was agreed by all stakeholders in the meeting, and will be followed up by the MoH with the support of WHO and Health Inforum.

Quality improvement project in Gaza hold two seminars on drug prescription pattern

In the subject of Drug prescription, the Health System Development Project -HSDPI World Bank TF(23455) – represented by the Quality Improvement Project and Management Information System Program organized two seminars on drug prescription pattern at Remal ( Gaza ) and Ramallah (West bank ) primary health care clinics.

The first seminar was held in Remal Clinic conference room on Sunday 11th Jan 2004 and the second was held between Gaza (Remal clinic) and West Bank (Public health laboratory) via video conference on 12th Jan 2004

The seminar shared the data on drug prescription pattern with Senior MoH Key personnel and representatives of national and international health agencies.

§ The seminar aimed to achieve the following objectives:
§ To encourage the use of data for decision making
§ To explore the importance of data in identifying areas for improvement
§ To understand the drug prescription pattern of physician.

The seminar included two parts: part one was presented by Mr Mazen Skeik, MIS consultant. It explored the results of the Clinic Information System (CIS) in general and pharmacy module in particular, while part two was presented by Lubna Al Sharif , Health Care Quality Expert, which shared the results of the “drug – drug interaction pilot study” at both Remal and Ramallah clinics.

The results drew the attention to the crucial role of the Management Information System not only to manage the administrative, but also the clinical aspects of the clinics.

The results emphasized the importance of implementing an appointment system especially in the chronic disease clinic in a way that regulate the flow of patients though over the month. Moreover, it underlined the role of the computerized patient case management and a complete patient treatment plan for a better drug management.

In addition, the results of the “drug – drug interaction pilot study” explored the important role of clinical pharmacologists in the process of drug prescription and in reducing adverse drug events. Moreover it raised the attention on the need of continuous education of both pharmacists and physicians in the concept of patient safety and adverse drug events.

PRCS Health Incidents at Checkpoints (December 27, 03- January 9,04)

Bethlehem, 31 December 2003 (16:00): Israeli soldiers at the Howwara checkpoint stopped a PRCS ambulance on its way to were transporting a patient in critical from Beit Jala Hospital to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus City. After searching the ambulance, the crew was allowed to proceed with the transfer. However, upon attempting to return back to Beit Jala from the said checkpoint, the same soldiers denied their access .One of the soldiers attacked the ambulance driver and shouted verbal insults. The ambulance was finally allowed to pass after being detained for one hour.

Nablus, 26, 27 December 2003: During the Israeli Army incursion into the Old City and Balata Refugee Camp, five PRCS volunteers from the PRCS Nablus Branch, while trying to assist the residents of the area, were detained between 2:00pm to 3:00am of the following morning.

Nablus, 3 January 2004 (08:40): A PRCS ambulance was called to transport an injured person from Al-Sheikh Musalam neighbourhood in the Old City to Al-Watani Hospital. Upon arrival, the medics administered emergency treatment in order to stabilize the seriously injured person The ambulance was stopped by Israeli soldiers at the entrance of the hospital who detained the ambulance for 10 minutes. The man was later pronounced dead by hospital officials.

Ramallah, 4 January 2004 (18:00): A PRCS ambulance was on its way to transport to Hadassah Hospital in East Jerusalem two persons seriously injured by an accident in Al-Ram area, south of Ramallah, after being given permission by the Israeli soldiers to enter Jerusalem. At the entrance of the hospital, Israeli guards refused the ambulance passage. After thirty minutes of delay, the crew was obliged to carry the patients to the hospital’s emergency entrance by foot, using stretchers.

Nablus: On 11 January 2004, a PRCS medic was beaten, detained and threatened with fatal harm by Israeli soldiers during a routine transfer of patients from Nablus to Ramallah Hospital. The ambulance was carrying a child with a cardiac condition and a disabled person suffering from leg injuries.

According to the medics’ affidavit, the ambulance, after crossing the Howwara checkpoint (Nablus), It was stopped by Israeli soldiers at a flying checkpoint on the Al-Sawia road . There, soldiers searched the ambulance and checked the crew’s and patient’s IDs and then refused to allow the ambulance to pass. Half an hour later, the ambulance was allowed to pass after coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). At another flying checkpoint, on road number 90 near AinYabrood village (Ramallah), Israeli soldiers stopped the ambulance again, checking IDs and searching the ambulance for the third time. A soldier ordered to one of the medics to get out of the ambulance, and as he did, the soldier pushed him against the ambulance.

When the medic asked the soldier why he pushed him, the soldier began hitting the medic on his face and back. The medic then tried to defend himself by taking a hold of the soldier’s hands, but four more soldiers including the head officer continued to beat the medic. The medic was then thrown to the ground and hands tied behind his back. At that point, the ambulance driver tried to assist his colleague, but he too was beaten and ordered to leave the area or else he would have been shot.

The soldiers continued to beat the medic for another half hour while his hands were still tied behind his back. He was then blind folded and taken to Ofra Military Detention Camp. There, the soldiers continued to beat and verbally abuse the medic until he was finally released from the detention camp one hour later.

In addition to the above, the following table lists incidents of denial and delay of access during this reporting period.

PRCS Branch DateCheckpoint
    Delay of access (unless indicated 'denied access')
Nablus 28/12/2003Aman street
    60 minutes
    75 minutes
    60 minutes
Aman street
    40 minutes
Qalqilia 27/12/2003 Amteen intersection
    60 minutes
29/12/2003 Howwara
    70 minutes
Jenin 1/1/2004Al-Kafryat
    25 minutes
    120 minutes
    140 minutes

For more information please contact Press Office at: phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7

Drugs needed for the Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC) in Nablus

Union of Health Care Committees (UHCC) is one of the local NGOs providing health services in Nablus, trying to cope with its sevices despite the frequent closures and curfew in the area. This organization urgently needs a set of drugs for the next six months, to carry out their activities for chronic patients. The list of the needed drugs is published in the Health Inforum Website

For more information please contact:
Union of Health Care Committees
(UHCC)Al-Moutanabi St. Fraitkh Bldg.
Nablus-Palestine, Tele-fax: 00972 9 2372432, 2336668,,,,
P.O. Box: 796, Nablus, West Bank.

The first cardiac catheterization for a nine months old infant in oPt

Dr. Ziad Saba, an American pediatric cardiologist of Palestinian origin, performed for the first time in the oPT a cardiac catheterization The patient was a nine months infant from Bethlehem that was suffering from a hart congenital malformation, a patent duct’s arteriosis., The duct between the Aorta and the Pulmonary Artery was successfully closed through the cardiac catheterization without need for opened surgical intervention. The operation was performed in the Ramallah hospital.

The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Palestinian Children Relief Fund (PCRF), organized this visit of Dr. Saba which lasted for a week. Further to this surgery, the cardiologist performed 28 operations to Palestinian children who were suffering from different kinds of heart problems. Dr. Saba expressed his appreciation in visiting the oPT for the sixth time and praised the work done by the local staff in the Ramallah hospital. Dr. Saba explained that he performs interventional cardiac catheterization for children in order to avoid opened surgical interventions. This kind of operation usually lasts between one and half to three hours.

Dr. Jawad El- Tibi, the Minister of Health, appreciated the efforts of Dr. Saba. The Minister confirmed his commitment to continue improving the area of Cardiac surgery in the Palestinian hospitals. He announced that a cardiac catheterization Laboratory will be established within this year in order to respond to the needs of cardiac patients. Dr. El-Tibi appreciated the efforts of the PCRF and of all the other organizations providing assistance to the Palestinian people.


Please feel free to contact us for information at:
Health Inforum, c/o Italian Cooperation. Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem
Tel: 02 532 7447, Fax: 02 532 2904
or at
Health Inforum, c/o WHO, Gaza office, Al-Bayed building, Al-Halbi Str.
Tel: 08-2822033, Fax: 02-2845409


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