Access restrictions tighten
• Rafah border: The Rafah border with Egypt was opened on only 3 days in January, allowing only 33 patients to travel to Egypt for medical treatment.
• Access through Erez: Only 8 in 10 patients who applied for Israeli permits to travel through Erez checkpoint to access medical treatment were approved. 52 patients (5 females and 47 males, including 4 children and 3 elderly) were denied permits, of the 1,489 patients who applied and 235 patients (92 females and 143 males, including 70 children and 12 elderly people over 60) received no response to their applications, and missed their medical treatment appointments.
• Interrogations: 22 patients (including 7 females, and 2 males over 60 years old) were requested to attend Israeli security interviews after applying for a permit to cross Erez. 1 patient was later approved.
• 5 war-related casualty patients, all males aged 25-40 years, applied for permits to exit Gaza via Erez checkpoint during January, of which 4 were approved and 1 was denied access. The patients had been referred by the Ministry of Health to Makassed hospital.
New referral guidelines, fewer MOH referrals
• New referral guidelines reduce numbers: According to the Ministry of Health Referral Abroad Department (RAD) in Gaza, 1,307 patients were issued referrals in January to non-MoH health facilities for specialized treatment, a drop of 15.6% from the monthly average in 2014, following new guidelines.
• Gender gap: The gender gap in referrals remained wide: 58.22% male patients versus 41.78% female patients. 24.1% of all referrals were for children aged 0-17 years and 20.35% were for patients aged over 60 years.
• Estimated cost of referrals for January: NIS 7,395,906.