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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
1 February 2003

Health Inforum News
Volume 2, No.20, 01 February 2003
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Health Inforum News Vol 2, No.20

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.

Ministry of Health Emergency Plan

Dr. Fathi Abu Mughli presented the National Emergency Plan for the Ministry of Health and other Health providers in the Emergency Health Coordination Meeting in Ramallah January 15, 2003.

The Ministry of health and it's partners, UNRWA, PRCS, and NGOs with generous support from the International community succeeded to overcome many difficult circumstances and to sustain the health services and to fulfill their obligations towards the Palestinian people.

Due to the possibility of escalation of the situation if a war happens in the Gulf, the MoH and it's partners should be prepared to face the worst possible scenario. They should prepare the community to play their positive role in supporting the health providers, be aware of the how to access and benefit from the health services in such circumstances.

Several meetings and workshops were conducted in the ministry of health and two very productive meetings were done with all health providers with main objects to evaluate the experience of the last 28 months, to revise the emergency plans and to agree on a comprehensive national strategy for preparedness for top emergency.

Each health provider present their emergency plans and preparedness for the expected worsening of the current situation , the MoH presented a national plan for coordination of health providers during the top emergency.

Extensive discussions took place and finally all health providers agreed on a modified national plan for coordination.

Organizational Structure Proposed to face the Emergency

  • Higher National Health Committee for Emergency
  • Emergency Coordinating Office
  • Emergency District Committee
  • Medical Care Units Emergency Working Groups
  • Emergency Response Regulations and Procedures

    For more Information, please visit our website: www.healthinforum.org

    Health Infield

    Health Sector Bi-Weekly Report No. 7

    This issue of the Health Sector Bi-Weekly report is highlighting the health issues of the Hebron district as this area has been exceptionally vulnerable and immunization access for the West Bank and Gaza Strip as this is a popular focus of humanitarian assistance.

    Immunization services

  • Since May, 159 out of 1064 (14.9%) children needed immunization but had no access;
  • Access to immunization showed some improvement in the last few.
  • Household access problems have been particularly worse in Bethlehem, Gaza City, and Nablus. Reasons: Curfew was cited by 84% of the households.

    Immunization service delivery, critical to maternal and child health, is continuing in the West Bank and Gaza but under a number of direct and indirect constraints.
  • 217(77.6%) of the 294 health facilities surveyed from June through November offer immunization services as specialty services or through pediatric primary care services;
  • 9 facilities reported having suspended immunization clinics for two or more days during the two weeks prior to the survey interview
  • 37 (17.5%) of the 214 facilities offering pediatric primary care suspended those services for two or more days during the two week reporting interval;

    A key to quality immunization services is the integrity of the cold chain. Electricity shortages can disrupt refrigeration systems and negatively impact vaccine efficacy.

  • 64(24.9%) of the 217 facilities offering immunization services reported electrical supply disruptions during the two week reporting interval;
  • 45 (70.3%) of the 64 have back-up generators

    More investigation is required to assess the steps facilities may be taking to protect their cold chain and to identify measures that can be taken to protect immunization services, particularly in the Central and Southern Districts of the West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip (Graph 11), where many facilities do not have access to generators.

    Health Facilities: Hebron

    The health service delivery system in Hebron has been particularly challenged since the escalation of the emergency in May of 2002. Since then a total of 37 facilities scattered throughout the District have been surveyed. No facility level data for Hebron is available for mid-August because of the lack of facilities in the geographic area where households were being sampled during the 7th round of data collection.

  • Staff access to facilities (improving as of September),
  • Availability of essential equipment and supplies, and
  • Provision of referral services.

    For more Information, please visit our website: www.healthinforum.org

    PRCS Weekly Health Incidents Report (January 18 - 25, 2003)

    Nablus 22 January 2003 (3:50 pm): PRCS EMS ambulance was searched and the medical teams ID was checked when they passed through Howara checkpoint responding to 2 calls for EMS assistance. En route back through Howara checkpoint with the patients the ambulance was once again stopped and checked and the same medical teams ID were re-checked. The PRCS driver tried to explain to the soldier that one of the patients was in critical condition but the soldiers were non-responsive to his request to pass and verbally abusive. After 1 hour and 35 minutes, in coordination with ICRC the ambulance was given permission to pass.

    Nablus 22 January 2003 (4:15 pm): PRCS ambulance transporting a patient was obstructed by the Israeli army for 1 hour and 15 minutes at Al Maslakh checkpoint before being allowed to proceed without cause.

    Nablus 22 January 2003 (7:50pm): PRCS ambulance obstructed at Amman Street checkpoint. The soldiers took and checked the team and patients ID and held them there for over 1 hour without cause. They then continued on to Howara checkpoint where they were not allowed to pass.

    Nablus 22 January 2003 (8:40pm): A PRCS ambulance transporting an emergency case was refused permission to pass Howara checkpoint. The Israeli soldiers claimed it was closed and were verbally abusive toward the driver. The ambulance was forced to turn back.

    Nablus 20 January 2003 (2:30 p.m.): Israeli soldiers stopped a PRCS ambulance, ordered the team and patient out of the vehicle and at gunpoint ordered the medic to strip naked and stand in a garbage pile. When he refused to remove his underclothes or stand in the garbage a soldier held a gun to his head and said he would count to 10 and if the medic had not followed orders by then he would shoot him. The medic again refused. All IDs were confiscated and after 1 hour the driver attempted to negotiate their release with the soldier but was ordered back into the ambulance at gunpoint and verbally assaulted. After 2 hours and 45 minutes, a superior officer returned the IDs and ordered them to turn back.

    Nablus 19 January 2003 (12:40 p.m.): A PRCS ambulance, led by a UN vehicle, was blocked while transporting a patient home from hospital following kidney dialysis treatment. The soldiers fired in their direction and an Israeli tank damaged the UN vehicle. Attempts to coordinate with ICRC were unsuccessful and the ambulance team was forced to return back to the hospital.

    Nablus 19 January 2003 (3:38 p.m.): A PRCS ambulance transporting a patient to Dar Istia Emergency Center was obstructed and terrorized by an Israeli army tank. The tank rammed its gun barrel through the window of the ambulance tilting the vehicle and partially lifting it off the ground. The ambulance was eventually placed back on the ground and allowed to continue on to the medical clinic.

    Nablus 18 January 2003 (12:24 a.m.): PRCS EMS team was stopped and held at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers while responding to a call from a woman in labor. The team attempted to coordinate with ICRC to gain entry into the neighborhood but they were unsuccessful and the soldiers forced them to turn back.

    Bethlehem 20 January 2003 (2:00p.m.): Israeli soldiers detained and searched a PRCS ambulance transporting a patient. They ordered the EMS team and patient out of the ambulance, confiscated all IDs and made them stand in the rain for an hour before allowing them to continue.

    Bethlehem 19 January 2003 (12:05 p.m.): Israeli soldiers obstructed a PRCS ambulance transporting a cancer patient to a hospital in Jerusalem. The ambulance was searched and eventually allowed to continue.

    Ramallah 18 January 2003 (3:30 p.m.): Israeli DCO contacted PRCS dispatch requesting assistance with a vehicular accident. When the EMS team arrived at the site they were fired at and verbally assaulted by the soldiers. The Medic stated that they were responding to a request from the DCO. The soldiers ordered the ambulance to return at gunpoint.

    Tulkarem 25-22 January 2003: On five separate occasions the Israeli army obstructed and searched PRCS ambulances carrying patients in critical condition requiring immediate medical attention. The delays resulted in these transports taking up to 3 hours when they should have taken 20 minutes.

    For more information please contact Press Office at: E-mail: pressoffice @palestinercs.org PRCS Website: www.palestinercs.org

    Requests

    The following schedule has been requested for Medicine distribution. Please advise Health Inforum if your organization can assist with distribution needs, please email info@healthinforum.org

    Destination
    Trucks Needed
    Hebron
    4 Trucks
    Nablus
    6 Trucks
    Jerusalem
    1 Truck
    Jenin
    3 Trucks
    Tulkarem
    2 Trucks
    Jericho
    2 Trucks
    Beit Jala
    3 Trucks
    Salfit
    1 Truck
    Qalqilya
    1 Truck
    Total
    23

    Health Inforum would like to thank all those organizations and individuals that have continued to support and help towards distribution needs.

    the Italian Cooperation), United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

    For more information refer to Health Inforum Web Portal: www.healthinforum.org

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    Please feel free to contact us for information at: Health Inforum, c/o the Italian Cooperation Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem

    Tel: 02 532 7447
    Fax: 02 532 2904
    Email: healthinforum@undp.org
    www.healthinforum.org

    WEBSITE:

    Health Inforum posts daily news and announcements concerning health issues on our website: www.healthinforum.org . We welcome your inputs, comments and suggestions.


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