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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
30 June 2014

Referral of patients from the Gaza Strip

Summary: June 2014

  • High need for access through Erez: In June the volume of patient applications to Israeli authorities to cross Erez checkpoint for health access (1,799 patients) was 57% 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: 79.82% of patient applicants were approved a permit in June 2014, more than 5% lower than the average of Jan-May 2014. 56 (3.11%) patients (20 females and 36 males, including 3 children and 8 elderly) were denied permits. 17.07% of patients who applied (307 patients: 113 females and 194 males, including 71 children and 17 elderly people over 60) received no response to their applications and their medical treatment was delayed as a result.
  • 12 patients interrogated: 9 men and 1 woman 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 June.
  • Limited patient access through Rafah: 10 Gaza patients were able to travel to Egypt through Rafah in June, compared to more than 4,177 in June 2013, before the closure.
  • Cancer patient denied access to continue ongoing treatment in Jerusalem (case study page 5).

  • Decrease in MoH referrals: Total MoH referrals of Gaza patients (1,778) to outside facilities were lower than January to April levels. Referrals to the West Bank and East Jerusalem were at the highest levels since the beginning of the year, while referrals to non-MoH facilities within Gaza were at their lowest level in 2014 following repair of the MoH MRI equipment. June referrals were 27% higher than the monthly average in 2013.
  • Medical reasons for referrals: The top ten specialties requiring referrals for treatment were: oncology-308 referrals (17.06%), nuclear medicine-146 (8.09%), ophthalmology-136 (7.53%), heart catheterization-136 (7.53%), orthopaedics-126 (6.98%), paediatrics-115 (6.37%), MRI —106 (5.87%), haematology-92 (5.1%), neurosurgery-78 (4.32%), and heart surgery-76 (4.21%). The remaining 27% of referrals were to 20 other specialities.
  • Gender gap: The gender gap in referrals continued: 54.29% male patients versus 45.71% female patients. 27.31% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 19.72% were for patients aged over 60 years.
  • Estimated cost of referrals for June 2014: NIS 9,640,376.

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