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A body of a Palestinian after Israeli attacks on Nuseirat last week Alamy Stock Photo
Palestine

Treatments limited and medicines scarce in Gaza hospital overwhelmed after Nuseirat attacks

Chronic patients in Gaza are unable to travel to Egypt for treatment they were promised.

EYAD SULAIMAN, 62, manoeuvred through the narrow alleyways of the makeshift camp, pushing the wheelchair carrying his wife, Mona, 60.

The camp, hastily set up near Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, was a sea of tents and temporary shelters housing thousands of displaced families. Mona has been bedridden for nearly 12 years due to a debilitating illness, and despite his age, Eyad had to navigate the camp’s chaotic environment with no special assistance.

The pair were displaced from Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza and forced to seek refuge in Rafah in the south. When the situation there became untenable, they moved again, this time to the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, the only hospital in the central Gaza Strip.

He shared his frustration over the deteriorating healthcare services for chronic patients. “My wife now receives two haemodialysis sessions per week, each half the duration of the previous sessions. Previously, she had three weekly sessions, each lasting four hours,” he explained.

The overcrowded camp and the spread of diseases were constant worries for Eyad. Living conditions were harsh, and the lack of transportation for his immobile wife made every trip to the hospital a daunting challenge.

Living with ill health

Their story reflects the compounded difficulties faced by displaced families in Gaza, highlighting not only the struggle for healthcare but also the broader daily adversities endured in a conflict zone.

After hours of waiting, 11-year-old Izz al-Din Yassin finally lay down on a treatment bed in the renal unit in the same hospital and with help of his father and brother, he prepared for a hemodialysis session. However, the hospital had reduced dialysis sessions from four hours to two, along with cutting his medication.

Izz al-Din’s family, originally from al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in southern Gaza City, first fled to Rafah in the south, Al-Najjar Hospital.

After Israeli military operations began in Rafah on 6 May, they were forced to move again to Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. The family now travels three times a week from their displacement camp to the hospital in Deir al-Balah for “half treatment sessions”.

Izz al-Din’s father said his son’s health is deteriorating due to the ongoing Israeli offensive, which has devastated Gaza’s healthcare system. He noted that Izz al-Din was supposed to travel to Egypt for treatment through World Health Organization coordination, but Israeli control of the Rafah border crossing prevented this.

He lamented the dire state of healthcare, the targeting of hospitals, overcrowding, and the lack of medications and proper treatment.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health operating in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, the only government-run hospital in the central governorate, have been overwhelmed by the tragic aftermath of the Israeli operation – to free four of its prisoners from Nuseirat refugee camp – which killed more than 200 Palestinian in one day.

On Saturday, the death toll reached 274, including 64 children, 57 women and 37 elderly individuals.

Among the deceased were dismembered bodies, making identification difficult. The number of injuries reached 698, including 153 children, 161 women, and 54 elderly individuals, with injuries ranging from amputations to severe wounds.

The spokesperson of Al-Aqsa martyrs hospital, Dr Kahlil Al-Degran, stated in a press conference on Sunday that “there is a significant shortage of medical staff, supplies, medications, and equipment”.

He added, “Moreover, there is a critical shortage of electricity, posing a serious threat to the hospital’s operations. With only one functioning generator remaining after the second one failed a week ago, the hospital’s ability to provide essential services is at risk.”

A complete shutdown of the generator would endanger the lives of patients and injured individuals, potentially leading to a major health and humanitarian crisis.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has issued an urgent appeal to the international community and its humanitarian and relief organisations to provide generators for Gaza’s hospitals.

In a post on its Facebook page, the ministry stated that for the past nine months, it has relied on generators to supply hospitals with the necessary electrical power around the clock after the destruction of the only power plant in Gaza.

The ministry added that “a number of generators in hospitals have suffered significant technical malfunctions that are difficult to repair, while others have been directly destroyed by the occupying forces”.

The ministry warned that the remaining generators in hospitals, health centres, and medicine warehouses are expected to stop functioning due to the blockade preventing the entry of necessary spare parts for maintenance.

The ministry emphasised that the stoppage of generators would mean certain death for patients and the injured, and the complete cessation of healthcare services in Gaza.

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