At the end of January, Gaza’s public health care system had run out of 206 essential medicines – that is 40 percent of medications included in the basic Palestinian health basket.
A further 27 drugs – or 6 percent of the 516 medications in the basket – were about to be depleted within days or weeks.
Meanwhile, there is a dire shortage in essential drugs such as those required for performing cardiac angiographies, treating cancer and autoimmune diseases and performing dialysis. Of a list of 853 disposable medical equipment items, 220 were expected to be unobtainable by the end of January.
“The shortage of medicines included in the basic basket is a phenomenon that has been going on for years in Gaza,” according to the head of the Gaza sub office World Health Organization, Dr. Mahmoud Daher. “But whereas in the past, 25 percent of these items were missing, since early 2017 the proportion has been growing. We are already at 46 percent,” he says, adding that $18 million is required in order to immediately restock supplies.
The unavailability of drugs has been overshadowed in the last year by the worsening electricity shortage, with a daily supply of only four to eight hours. Consequently, health facilities rely on generators and a supply of emergency fuel which, according to a UN warning last Monday, will be exhausted within the next week. A January report by the World Health Organization warns that 1,715 patients will be in immediate life-threatening situations if hospitals run out of fuel.
Meanwhile, the “Israeli” policy of prohibiting and restricting movement and the increasing poverty in Gaza are the backdrop for the deterioration in the public health system and what observers warn is its imminent collapse.
Add to all this the Zionist entity’s delays in granting exit permits for the sick and entry permits for spare parts for medical and diagnostic equipment – and it’s not hard to understand why the fear and anxiety of families with sick relatives has intensified.