Exit permit approval rate drops to 7 in 10 Gaza patients, lowest rate in 6 years
• Erez crossing: Of the 1,883 referral patients who applied for permits to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in September, only 71.59% were approved. 19.28% received no response to their applications (363 patients, including 104 children) and 9.13% were denied permits (172 patients, including 5 children and 10 elderly patient over 60 years old). 4 male patients were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit, 2 were later approved. 92% of permit applications were from MoH referral patients , 5.03% were financed by NGOs and other donors and 2.97% were self-funded. According to the Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza. (Source: Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza) One patient was arrested by Israeli security at Erez. (Story on page 7.)
Rafah: No access for patients
• Rafah border: The Rafah terminal was open to Egypt on 5 days during September for pilgrims only. No medical aid and no medical delegations were allowed entry into Gaza during the month. In the first 9 months of 2015, the border was open on 24 days only, allowing 148 patients to cross into Egypt for health care. Before the July 2013 closure, more than 4,000 Gaza residents crossed Rafah monthly for health-related access.
MoH referrals in September
• Ministry of Health referrals depend on access: Of the 1,760 Gaza patients referred by the Ministry of Health, 86% depended on access approvals from Israel (78%) or Egypt (8%). The main referral specialties needed were in oncology, orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, paediatrics, and heart catheterization. (Source: Ministry of Health Referral Abroad Department in Gaza).
• Gender gap: The gender gap in Gaza referrals remained wide: 54.6% male patients versus 45.4% female patients. 27% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 19% were for patients aged over 60 years..
• Estimated cost of referrals for September: NIS 9,821,335.