Referrals reflect needs and local capacity
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza referred 1,357 patients in June, a slight decrease compared to the last 3 months. Most referrals were to hospitals in East Jerusalem (411-- 30.3%), followed by Israel (313 --23.1%), Egypt (291 --21.4%), NGO and private hospitals inside the Gaza Strip (172--12.7%), West Bank hospitals (169 –12.5%), and Jordan (1—0.07%) (Table 1).
Only one referral was made to Jordan, reflecting a June 2012 decision by most Jordanian hospitals to halt new MoH referrals due to outstanding PA debts. Referrals to East Jerusalem hospitals declined after a peak of 500 patients in March due to lack of available beds (Chart 1). Referrals within Gaza were for lithotripsy (60), heart catheterization (46), MRI (45), and (21) other services. Referrals for heart surgery decreased significantly in the last two months due to a second hospital in the Gaza Strip with capacity to perform operations, the European hospital, in addition to Shifa. The gender gap in referrals was reduced in June: 52.5% of referrals were males and 47.5% were females. 30% of all referrals were children aged 0-17 years and 17% were elderly over 60 years.