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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
26 October 2014




Referral of patients from the Gaza Strip


Summary: September 2014

The 50-day Israeli military operation in Gaza in July and August caused widespread damage, including to 50% of all hospitals and clinics. As a result, some disruption has been experienced in health services. Administrative delays in referral services have affected several hundred patients who are waiting for either financial approval for treatment in non-Ministry of Health facilities or, in the case of casualty patients, travel coordination to sponsored medical care in outside countries.

Access

  • Casualty patients exit: 131 patients with injuries exited Gaza during the month --- 86 via Erez checkpoint and 45 via Rafah border with Egypt (of which 42 were destined for hospitals in Germany). One casualty patient was arrested at Ben Gurion airport while on his return to Gaza (see page 7).
  • Erez permit applications and approvals decline: 1,561 patients applied for Israeli permits to exit Gaza via Erez for medical treatment in September and only 83.73% of applicants were approved. 41 patients (6 females and 35 males, including 2 children and 1 elderly) were denied permits; among them were 13 casualty patients (see page 6-7). 213 patients (71 females and 142 males, including 44 children and 14 elderly people over 60) received no response to their applications, and missed their medical treatment appointments.
  • Interrogations: 15 patients (including 2 females) were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit to cross Erez.
  • Rafah border: Egypt permitted 994 patients to cross Rafah border for medical reasons, the highest number since Egypt closed the terminal in July 2013.

Referrals
  • Casualty patients referred: 131 casualty patients were referred by the Ministry of Health during September. An additional 200 casualty patients have been waiting for referrals for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Regular referrals declined 20%: In September, the number of non-casualty patients referred to hospitals outside of Ministry of Health (MoH) facilities in Gaza by the Referral Abroad Department (RAD) was 1,490, 80% of the monthly average for 2014.
  • Gender gap: The gender gap in referrals widened: 58.79% male patients versus 41.21% female patients. 22% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 19.73% were for patients aged over 60 years.


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