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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
1 May 2004

Health Inforum News
Volume 3, No.58, 1 May 2004
Welcome to the forty-seventh issue of the Health Inforum Newsletter.

Quote of the month
"He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything."

"Arab proverb"
Increasing number of Mumps cases in the northern area of West Bank

According to UNRWA sources, from the second half of December 2003 a mumps outbreak started in Askar camp and then extended to Balata camp and to Camp No.1. The total number of cases reported until the 1st of May is 1,065. The cases are not confined to camps. The MOH reported last week about more than 100 cases in Nablus town and the adjacent villages. 76 % of cases had their MMR vaccine in due course. Complications occurred in 1.3% of cases (7 orchitis ,6 pancreatitis and 1 aseptic meningitis).

Pharmaciens Sans Frontier ends its drug transportation service
At the end of April 2004 Pharmaciens Sans Frontier ended its project -started more than a year ago - supporting the transportation of drugs from the MoH central drug store in Ramallah to other districts in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health reassures on absence of bacterial meningitis epidemics
The Palestinian MoH announced on the 21st April 2004 that the cases of meningitis recently detected in Gaza are not bacterial. This reassurance came after the increase of referrals to the Pediatric hospital for meningitis, whose bacterial etiology have been excluded. Also, it has been reported that the incidence rate of bacterial meningitis has been stable during the last year.

World Health Day promotes road safety
Road accidents kill 1.2 million people annually and are the second leading cause of death among people aged 5–29, according to a joint WHO/World Bank report launched today. Marking the World Health Day, on April the 7th, the report shows that much can be done to prevent the toll of road deaths and injuries.
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UNRWA suspension of food aid in Gaza
From the first to the 21st of April 2004 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) had to suspend its distribution of emergency food aid to some 600,000 refugees in the Gaza Strip, following restrictions introduced by Israeli authorities at the sole commercial crossing through which the Agency is able to bring in humanitarian assistance.
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Health News:

§ Increasing cases of mumps…..
§ PSF ends its project……
§ Absence of bacterial meningitis…….
§ World Health Day….
§ UNRWA suspended emergency food….
§ Mumps in Nablus….
Projects& Research
National Health Account

Casualties & access incidents
§ 61 Palestinians were killed, 505 injured, 29 incidents on ambulances since the beginning of April

Italian Cooperation comments on the PCBS survey “Access to health”

Appeals & Requests
MOE appeals to provide students with Vitamins

Upcoming Events
§ Health Emergency Coordination Meeting in Ramallah, Central Public Health Laboratory

Date & time: Wednesday 12 May 2004 at 10:00AM-12PM

National Health Account Project (Survey)

Donor: Italian Cooperation
Beneficiaries: MOH and the other health providers in Palestine
Implementing agencies: PCBS and MOH
Duration: 1 year (2004).
Budget: $ 70,000

Overall aim :

To contribute to measure health system performance, by studying the link between health expenditures and the use of services and assessing the distribution of resources,

Objectives :

§ To assess the distribution of expenditures on health services

§ To provide evidence to policy makers, non governmental stakeholders, and private sector in order to allow them to make informed decisions for improving the health system performance in Palestine.

§ To define and value donor contributions to the health sector.


The survey design includes two parts: A household and a health provider component.

The information will be collected through an interview to the head of household and to the representative of the health provider of each household and health provider included in the surveyed sample.

The sample size will include 4500 households and all the relevant health providers.

The data collection will be conducted during June 2004.
    According to Ministry of Health the total number of deaths & causalities from 28/03/2004 to 27/04/2004 were the following:

    Total number of deaths: 61
    o In West Bank: 22
    o In Gaza: 39

    Total number of casualities: 505
    o In West Bank: 357
    o In Gaza : 148

    During the period 1 – 30 April, 2004, there were 29 incident reports.The following table lists the incidents of denial and delay of access of ambulances during the mentioned period.


Comments by the Italian Cooperation on the access to health survey 2003, conducted by Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

Dr. Rino Pappagallo

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics had conducted a survey on the Access to health Services during the period of November 15th/03-January 7th /04. A press conference on the survey results document has been produced and distributed, where we, the Italian cooperation had the opportunity to review and analyze the findings because these statistic Press Conferences are unique opportunities to open scientific interest in public health, and as it is worldwide known, the Press Conference’s intention is to draw attention on a number of issues, and not to merely present a “flood of percentages”, a more exhaustive interpretation of each table and the theoretical links between tables must be attempted, however difficult it may be.

We took this opportunity to present our comments on the presentation and the results of the study with the no other intention than that of stimulating further attention to the findings.

For the complete article, visit


Appeal of Ministry of Education to support students in schools against anemia

Findings of a study done by John Hopkins and Al-Quds University revealed a deterioration in the nutritional status of the Palestinian students, showing a high degree of anemia. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education, jointly with the Private Sector, are looking for donor contribution to provide students with necessary minerals and vitamins.

For more information, please visit

You are cordially invited to attend the next Health Emergency Coordination Meeting (HECM) on Wednesday 12 May 2004 from 10:00Am till 12:00 at Central Public Health Laboratory in Ramallah.

The agenda for this meeting will include:

1. Opening
2. Presentation of UNRWA on Mumps outbreak in the Northern area of West Bank.
3. A commentary presentation on mumps by MOH
4. Italian Cooperation commentary presentation on Access to Health Survey done by PCBS.
5. MOH Drugs transportation coming strategy.
6. Closing
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


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