A Second Glance (Gaza):
Terminally ill patients in Gaza denied proper health care
“I had been tired for a while and had pains throughout my body. It was the 20th of August in 2009, and I was in my classroom, teaching my students when I suddenly felt close to collapse. I had pain everywhere, but especially in my upper legs. I went to the clinic located 100 meters away from the school where they gave me some medicine. The next day the same thing happened. Blood tests were done; they came back abnormal and I was referred to the hematology department of al Shifa Hospital. The following day I went to take the results and they told me I have chronic myeloid leukaemia.”
Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip suffering from cancer or chronic illnesses, have been denied their basic right to life and healthcare over the years. They are struggling to receive medicines and medical treatment or elsewhere, many of them encountering obstacles in terms of availability, access, funding, and bureaucracy. And the crisis continues to worsen.
The depletion of substantive amounts of essential medicines in the Gaza Strip is caused by a combination of factors: the on-going illegal Israeli closure, the international boycott of the Hamas authorities, and the political rift between Fatah and Hamas.
The right to health is a basic human right that cannot be held hostage by occupation and internal politics. The abundance of political meetings and statements is in stark contrast to the lack basic care for people’s lives.