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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
31 May 2014

Referral of patients from the Gaza Strip

Summary: May 2014

  • High need for access through Erez: In May the volume of patient applications to Israeli authorities to cross Erez checkpoint for health access (1,714 patients) was 49% higher than the monthly average in 2013. Monthly trends in 2014 have been the highest since the WHO began monitoring access through Erez. The increase in demand reflects the closure of the Rafah border to Egypt and lack of drugs, especially chemotherapy and lack of medical disposables.
  • Permit approval rate back to average: 85.76% of patient applicants were approved a permit in May 2014, 1% higher than the average of Jan-April 2014. 14 (0.82%) patients (6 females and 8 males, including 5 children) were denied permits. 13.42% of patients who applied (230 patients: 79 females and 151 males, including 43 children and 20 elderly people over 60) received no response to their applications and their medical treatment was delayed as a result.
  • 12 patients interrogated: 10 men and 2 women aged between 18-60 years were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit to cross Erez. One patient so far was granted a permit following the security interviews in May.
  • Patient access through Rafah completely stopped: No Gaza patients were able to travel to Egypt through Rafah in May, compared to more than 3,700 in May 2013, before the closure.
  • An odyssey of suffering for Gaza patient denied access to healthcare (case study page 5).

  • Decrease in MoH referrals: Total MoH referrals of Gaza patients (1,778) to outside facilities were the lowest recorded since the beginning of the year due to a significant decrease in referrals to non-MoH facilities within Gaza. Still May referrals were 27% higher than the monthly average in 2013.
  • Medical reasons for referrals: The top ten specialties requiring referrals for treatment were: oncology-256 referrals (14.4%), nuclear medicine-165 (9.28%), MRI-162 (9.11%), ophthalmology-146 (8.21%), heart catheterization-132 (7.42%), orthopaedics-126 (7.09%), paediatrics-111 (6.24%), neurosurgery-80 (4.5%), haematology-73 (4.11%), and heart surgery-70 (3.94%). The remaining 25.7% of referrals were to 20 other specialities.
  • Gender gap: The gender gap in referrals continued: 54.44% male patients versus 45.56% female patients. 23.73% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 19.29% were for patients aged over 60 years.
  • Estimated cost of referrals for May 2014: NIS 8,184,813.

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