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WHO thanks donors for aiding the Palestinian health system in Gaza and urges continued support for recovery interventions

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6 September 2014, Jerusalem – On 10 July 2014, just days after the escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, the World Health Organization raised concern about the ability of the Ministry of Health of the occupied Palestinian territory to cope with the new emergency and its increased burden on the health system, given the high levels of shortages of medicines, medical disposables and hospital fuel supplies, and rising health care debt.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and with UNRWA coordination, called on local and international donors to support the Ministry by providing US$ 40 million for medicines and medical supplies, and US$ 20 million for referral costs, to protect the health and welfare of Palestinians during the emergency.

The violence has been unprecedented in terms of the human toll. At the time of the appeal, there had been 80 deaths and 570 injuries, and one hospital and three clinics had been damaged. Today, following a negotiated ceasefire ending 51 days of violence, the casualty toll stands at 2130 deaths and more than 11 000 injuries, most of whom have been treated in Ministry of Health hospitals and clinics. At the same time, 17 of Gaza’s 32 hospitals and 45 of 97 primary health clinics have been damaged, and 4 hospitals and 5 clinics are still closed after severe damage.

The WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Ala Alwan, toured Gaza on August 11 and visited Gaza’s main hospital, Al Shifa, meeting with casualty patients, health workers and the hospital directors. Dr Alwan congratulated the hospital directors and leaders in the health sector for being able to maintain effective emergency services, even when 240 seriously injured patients arrived at the same time: “Their heroic efforts and highly professional work are greatly appreciated.”

The response from the donor community through providing humanitarian aid and assistance to the Palestinian health sector has been crucial for maintaining services at a high level in Gaza. According to the Ministry of Health, which together with WHO, is coordinating with donors to ensure that aid is targeted to needs and that delivery is facilitated into Gaza, a total of US$ 12.6 million from 39 donor agencies, governments, humanitarian organizations and other donors has been delivered to the health sector in Gaza. Two thirds of these donations (US$ 8.35 million) were targeted to Ministry of Health facilities. Ninety-two per cent of the donations to the Ministry of Health were medicines and medical disposables, especially for trauma treatment. The remaining donations were for medical equipment, fuel supplies to hospitals, and meals for patients and staff in hospitals.

In addition, US$ 5.3 million in donations from 28 donors are in process or in the pipeline for delivery to Gaza. Almost all is for drugs and medical supplies and destined for the Ministry of Health facilities.

In total, the WHO appeal for US$ 40 million for medicines and medical supplies for the Ministry of Health in Gaza has achieved a response rate of 45%, considering both medical supplies delivered and those in the pipeline, as reported by the Ministry of Health up to 3 September. In addition, the UN Gaza appeal which was launched during the emergency and was updated following the ceasefire, requests US$ 23.5 million for health sector intervention to be implemented by UN agencies, including US$ 8.1 million for WHO, and by nongovernmental organizations to support health services in Gaza in the recovery period.


For further information please contact:

Dr Mahmoud Daher
Head of Gaza sub-office
Mobile: +970 598 944650/+972 54 7179010
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Maria Y Al-Aqra'
Director of International Cooperation
Palestinian Ministry of Health
Tel/Fax: 00972 9 2387275 /Mobile: ++972 598 949104
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Rana Sidani
Senior Communication Officer
Regional Office in Egypt
Mobile: +201099756506 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it