Medicines save lives and relieve suffering
The health emergency in the Gaza Strip has been compounded by the pre-existing shortages of essential medicines and disposables, making supplies an essential component of international relief efforts to assist the Gaza Strip. However, well-intended donations can waste valuable resources and result in more harm than good if not of the correct kind, quality or quantity. More than 75% of the donations sent in 2009 were unsuitable and hampered relief efforts.
Ministry of Health needs. WHO advises potential donors to contact the Ministry of Health for updates on the latest needs according to the national essential medicine list and medical disposables list, and to notify the authorities of their intentions to donate, to allow them to plan for their receipt and use. Prospective donors may also contact WHO for technical advice.
- Quality control. If donors are making in-kind donations, WHO requests that donors purchase medicines from sources with reliable quality control that comply with international standards for packaging, labelling and other key quality requirements.
- Unsuitable medicines. The following types of medicines cannot be used and should not be donated: expired medicines; medicines near expiration date (less than one year); partially-used medicines; free samples; products of uncertain quality; products that are poorly labelled (must be in a language understood in the occupied Palestinian territory).
- All require processing. All donations must be checked, sorted and stored by health staff. Excessive quantities can waste staff resources and consume valuable storage space. Unsuitable or expired items must be safely destroyed, again consuming resources.
- Logistics. The costs of international and local transport, warehousing, port clearance and storage should be met by the donor. To facilitate entry procedure, donors should present comprehensive and fully accurate paperwork which includes a detailed packing list, specifies the goods' contents, dosage, form, quantity, expiry date, volume and weight.
Before sending donations donors are invited to consult the WHO guidelines for drug donations [pdf 72kb].