WHO Report on Referral of Gaza Patients August 2012
On Wednesday 19th September, World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a report on referrals of patients from Gaza.
· Rafah closure: During August 2012, Egyptian authorities closed Rafah border for 17 days. As a result several hundred patients and their companions were unable to reach their hospital appointments in Egypt.
· Died while waiting for permit: A female patient suffering from breast cancer died while waiting for a permit to cross Erez and access the health care she was referred to.
· Interrogated: 10 patients were reported to have been called for Israeli interrogation (2 females; 8 males).
· Denied: 7 patients (1 female; 6 males) were denied permits to exit Erez crossing for medical treatment.
· Delayed: 35 patients (12 females; 23 males) did not receive a response to their permit applications and missed their hospital appointments.
· MoH referrals requiring permits: The number of referred patients needing access through Erez was 599 (336 to East Jerusalem, 164 to Israel, and 99 to the West Bank). 209 patients were referred to Egypt which requires special clearance at the border.
· Medical reasons: Most August referrals were for: oncology (19%), ophthalmology (11%), nuclear medicine (9%), pediatrics (8%), hematology (7%), neurosurgery (5%), cardiology (5%). The estimated cost for referrals was NIS 8,223,563 about $2,108,389.
· Decreased internal Gaza referrals: Only 28 referrals were made in August by the Ministry of Health to private or non-governmental health facilities in Gaza, compared to 289 internal referrals in January. According to the RAD in Gaza, one explanation for the drop is that both the MRI and cardiac catheterization in Gaza European Hospital began functioning again, replacing the need for outside referrals.
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