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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
1 July 2003




Health Inforum News
Volume 2, No.30, 1 July 2003
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Welcome to the twentieth edition of the Health Inforum Newsletter.

In our ongoing efforts to provide useful information to the whole of the health community, we continue to welcome any comments or suggestions you might have to help us improve this newsletter.

In this Issue: __________________________________________________________________________________________________

MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL - FROM ISOLATION TO PARTICIPATION

WHO and Palestinian Ministry of Health organize first conference on mental health in the occupied Palestinian territory in two years.

Under the slogan "Mental Health for All" this conference will bring together Palestinian and international mental health professionals to evaluate the mental health services in place and to discuss ways how to improve them.

Due to the present closure policies and strict travel restrictions it is necessary to arrange two different conferences. The first one will take place in Gaza City on 7-8 June, and the second conference will be held in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on 9-10 June. This will be the first opportunity, in over two years, for many Palestinian mental health professionals to meet with their colleagues from other parts of their regions within the occupied Palestinian territory.

Dr. K. Al-Sharafi , Minister of Health of the Palestinian Authority (PA), will open the Conference in Gaza, and Dr. M. Sharif, Deputy Minister of Health of the PA, will open the conference in the West Bank. Participants will include local and international mental health experts, and representatives from local NGOs and international agencies.

The conferences will involve extensive group work in order to provide recommendations for the preparation of a National Health Policy for Palestine, and for better mental health services in the oPt.

War and political violence have a tremendous impact on mental well-being. Services for vulnerable groups, such as people with mental health problems, may decline. Therefore, during conflict, the protection of a human civil society, and the need to promote future development, require specific support of vulnerable groups through specialized programs and services.

Facts and Figures on the Separation Wall1 and its impacts on Health Services2

B’tselem published recently its report “ Behind The Barrier: Human Rights Violations As a Result of Israel's Separation Barrier, Position Paper, April 2003.

Health Inforum assessed health services in those locations either it is available or not3.

It is worth to mention that hospitals in the northern areas of West Bank are located only in the cities, which the majority of population who are living in the surrounding villages cannot reach it.

B’tselem Report mentioned the following facts:

Following are the villages, which will be affected by the “Wall”, population and the availability of health services

First enclave: West of Jenin (5 villages)



Second enclave: East of Baqa AlGarbieh (Arab Village in the green line), (3 villages)




Enclaves West of the Barrier

Third enclave: South of Tulkarem



Fourth enclave: South of Qalqilya (3 villages)



Two enclaves will be created between the main barrier and the trenches of the depth barrier

First enclave: Jenin District (3 villages)



Second enclave: Tulkarem District (9 locations)



· 3rd enclave: will be created hermetically closing Qalqilya



· 4th enclave: South of Qalqilya: will be surrounded by the barrier from 3 sides (3 villages)




SUPPLIES & MEDICINES
USAID Expands its List of Essential Medicines to Be Procured Locally

On June 16, 2003, USAID approved an extension of the list of essential medicines that will be procured locally, representing a budget of approximately 1.5 million for Palestinian pharmaceutical manufacturers. The 57 essential medicines include commonly used antibiotics and medicines for chronic diseases prevalent in the Palestinian Territories.

The initiative was taken in response to the urgent appeal issued by the Ministry of Health, most recently in May 2003, requesting donor support to build strategic reserves in key medicines. The medicines will be procured through the USAID-funded Emergency Medical Assistance Program (EMAP), implemented by CARE International. The medicines will be distributed to both the Ministry of Health and selected NGOs throughout the West Bank and Gaza. USAID is pleased that by procuring from reputable Palestinian companies, USAID/WBG will be supporting private sector activity and thus contributing to employment and income generation.

Following table shows the list of medicines



Note: The EMAP program is USAID’s primary emergency medical assistance program. In addition to procurement support to MOH and NGOs, it supports emergency care and rehabilitation NGOs through grants. It also includes a training component for doctors and nurses in emergency care protocols; and is providing regular and accurate information regarding health trends in the Palestinian Territories through a sentinel surveillance system and specific assessments.


CARE International Medical Kits Distribution to health providers through the period from June 13th-26th, 2003





ACCESS & HEALTH INCIDENTS
PRCS Weekly Health Incident Report 21 - 27 June 2003

Nablus 23 June 2003 (1:40): An ambulance on its way to pick up patients stopped at the Shafi Shamron checkpoint. The ambulance waited for 20 minutes without any respond from the soldiers although there were no other vehicles waiting to pass the checkpoint. The ambulance driver moved slowly towards the checkpoint. One of the soldiers waved his hand and the driver proceeded to drive towards the checkpoint and a sudden burst of gunfire from the soldiers forced the ambulance driver to retreat to his original position. About five minutes later, the same soldier waved his hand again and the ambulance driver proceeded to drive toward the soldiers. The ambulance stopped and the soldiers began to physically and verbally abuse the ambulance crew. Only after International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) coordination was the ambulance finally permitted to cross the checkpoint.

Nablus 27 June 2003 (11:50): An ambulance transporting two patients to Beit Foreek village was stopped at the Beit Foreek checkpoint. Israeli soldiers ordered the crew to strip off their upper clothes, and then confiscated their communication radios. One of the soldiers used one of the radio devices to transmit verbal abuses. After a twenty-minute delay, the ambulance was finally allowed to pass.

Hebron 25 June 2003 (16:00): An ambulance transporting three patients from Ramallah to Hebron was stopped by Israeli police at the Tel Buyout Area. Israeli police searched the ambulance and the crew and arrested one of the patients who had suffered a heart attack.

In addition to the above mentioned, following table lists delay of access cases and four cases of total denial of access during this reporting period.


For more information please contact Press Office at:
phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7
E-mail: pressoffice@palestinercs.org <mailto:pressoffice@palestinercs.org>


UNFPA, UNICEF and PCBS launch the first National Survey on Palestinian Youth and Adolescents

UNFPA, UNICEF and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), launched the first national survey on youth and adolescents in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The survey will establish a knowledge base on youth and adolescent demographics, health, education, family relations and entertainment activities.

Much needed data will also be provided on young people’s needs and aspirations as well as knowledge and perception of reproductive health (RH) and rights, and gender issues. Such data constitute an invaluable tool for developing policies, launching program and planning for a better future for this young generation. Information will be collected from a sample estimated to be around 5,200 households covering all of the OPT during the survey fieldwork, while the final results will be released at the end of December 2003.

The survey is the cornerstone of a joint initiative executed by UNFPA and UNICEF and financed by the United Nations Foundation to promote the quality of life of young Palestinians aged between 12 – 18. Since its beginning in mid 2001, this three-year initiative has made considerable progress in raising awareness of young people on RH and rights, providing them with psycho-social counseling and developing their life skills.


NEWS PUBLICATIONS
Health Sector Bi-weekly Report, Number 12, 24 May 2003

This is the twelfth Health Sector Bi-weekly Report, which describes data that is collected every two weeks in an effort to monitor the impact of the emergency on various aspects of the health sector. CARE/Johns Hopkins University/ANERA, under the Emergency Medical Assistance Project, has partnered with Al Quds University to design and implement a sentinel surveillance system for Palestinian households. EMAP is funded through USAID. This issue highlights food security, water availability, and issues of health service access.

For more Information visit www.healthinforum.org



notes

1 B’tselem report “ Behind The Barrier: Human Rights Violations As a Result of Israel's Separation Barrier, Position Paper, April 2003.
2 Health Inforum Database on Health Services in oPt



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FOR MORE INFORMATION_________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Health Inforum, c/o the Italian Cooperation
Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem
Tel: 02 532 7447
Fax: 02 532 2904
Email: info@healthinforum.org
www.healthinforum.org

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