“Gaza Health” warns of a shortage of drugs for cancer patients

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On Sunday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip warned of the repercussions of the lack of medicines and treatment protocols for cancer patients.

This came during a press conference held by the ministry in front of Al-Rantissi Specialized Children’s Hospital (governmental) in Gaza City under the title “Save Cancer Patients”.

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Muhammad Abu Nada, director of the hospital, said during the conference that “the lack of about 60 percent of medicines and treatment protocols for cancer patients is a dangerous indicator of their treatment opportunities.”

He continued, “The continuation of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, which has caused a shortage of these medicines.

And placing unjustified restrictions on the movement of patients who need treatment in specialized centers in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the occupied interior, causing the death of many of them.”

He indicated that about 50-60 percent of cancer patients need treatment outside the Gaza Strip, especially to receive radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and nuclear scans, which are not available in Gaza.

He stated that continuing to “prevent patients from traveling causes their deaths with complications that were treatable.”

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He explained that his ministry is facing great challenges “in providing health services to cancer patients due to the lack of medicines, medical consumables, and the required medical equipment.”

And being “the only entity competent to care for patients with blood and tumors in Gaza.”

He called on the international community to pressure Israel “to lift its restrictions and facilitate the movement of patients and their access to specialized hospitals outside the Gaza Strip.”

According to a report issued by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (based in Geneva) in January 2020.

The percentage of deficits in cancer drugs increased from 16 percent in 2005 to 60 percent in 2020, which has affected the survival rate of cancer patients.

Thousands of sick Palestinians are forced to go to hospitals in Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Israel through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, which is under Israeli control.

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And this is after they obtained a medical referral issued by the Department of Treatment Abroad of the Palestinian Ministry of Health (in Ramallah), based on which the arrangement is made between the Palestinian and Israeli civil liaisons.‎

The “referral” may be issued within weeks, as the patients say, and in many cases, the Israeli authorities refuse treatment referrals, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Israel has imposed a land and sea blockade on Gaza since Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections.