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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
28 December 2008



Health Situation in Gaza - 28 December 2008

This is an update on the situation the health sector since the Israeli air strikes started at 11.15 Saturday 27 December. WHO is working with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and international and local organizations to coordinate assistance to the health sector. A meeting with health partners was held in Jerusalem today and it was agreed that information about donations of drugs and supplies should be shared with WHO so that ongoing needs can be assessed. A meeting of the health coordination group will be held in Gaza tomorrow.

Casualties

Hospitals in Gaza Strip received about 900 injured patients, of whom 650 were hospitalized. MoH hospitals reported about 115 critical cases, 25 in intensive care units (ICUs) and 90 were operated and admitted to wards. The MoH reported that there is no possibility to evacuate those in critical condition unless they are stabilized first, since the equipment and teams to keep them stable while being transported are not available. The MoH also reported 280 fatalities. The MoH could not provide exact figures disaggregated by age categories.

Hospital functioning

There are 27 hospitals in Gaza; 13 are managed by the MoH with a capacity of about 1500 beds. Private and NGO hospitals have about 500 beds. The MoH hospitals were overwhelmed by the initial influx of patients. They switched to emergency mode, discharging non-urgent patients wherever possible (some to NGO hospitals). Emergency and operating rooms are under intense pressure but most have sufficient beds so far.

The fuel situation at all hospitals in Gaza are listed in the below table:

Hospital
Tank capacity
Available quantities
Average consumption/hour
Average daily consumption
Shifa
56,000
49,700
180
4,320
Gaza European
120,000
100,750
191
4,584
Nasser paediatric
10,000
10,000
100
2,400
Dorra paediatric
6,500
6,200
70
1,680
Psychiatric hospital
2,500
2,200
60
1,440
Specialized paediatric hospital
10,100
9,000
50
1,200
Beit Hanoun
8,450
7,000
40
960
Kamal Edwan
1,000
9,500
60
1,440
Aqsa
17,100
12,700
70
1,680
Nasser Khanyounis
22,000
16,848
105
2,520
Abu Yousef Najar
16,500
15,950
40
960
Tal El-Sultan
7,000
5,800
64
1,536
Total
277,150
245,648
 
 

PHC functioning

The MoH manages 56 primary health care (PHC) centres in the Gaza Strip, of which 24 are assigned to work as emergency centres. The MoH deployed many staff members from PHC services to work in hospitals. All PHC centres are functioning with limitations, either because of re-deployment of staff or inability to access some of the centres in dangerous areas.

Pharmaceutical supplies
The MoH reported that 105 items from the essential drug list were at zero stock level at the central drug store before the hostilities started. There were also 225 consumable items and 93 laboratory and blood bank items out of stock at the central store. Some of these items are available at facility level but many shortages are reported. The MoH also reported a lack of medical gases needed for operating rooms and laboratories, such as nitrous ethylene oxide and nitrogen. Today, WHO facilitated the entry of these gases to Gaza.

The MoH is working with WHO and other UN and international organizations to meet the most urgent demands : Referral abroad

Since 25 December, the MoH requested approvals from the Israeli authorities for 21 patients to exit Gaza to seek medical care in Israeli or West Bank hospitals. Only six were allowed to exit on Thursday and one on Friday. The Erez crossing has been closed for patient referrals since and no patients have been referred through Rafah.

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