29 November 2016, Gaza – On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, marked by the UN since 1977, WHO launched a 2-year report on health access today at an event in Gaza to highlight how the Israeli permit system and physical barriers obstruct health access for Palestinian patients, ambulances and health workers. The study “Right to health: crossing barriers to access health in the occupied Palestinian territory, 2014–2015,” is based on data provided by Palestinian Authority ministries and non-profit health providers, as well as patient interviews and field studies.
“Access is a fundamental element of the right to health. Every mother and child has the right to be together during a child’s cancer treatment,” said Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, the WHO head of the office in the West Bank and Gaza. “Yet the data indicate substantial restrictions for thousands of patients and their companions who are trying to travel to their places of referral.” The 48-page report also presents information on the impact of attacks on health facilities, patients and health personnel, and the health access situation in “Area C” in the West Bank, where Israel retains full security and civil authority.