Israel + 1 more

Health Inforum News Vol 2, No.22

Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Health Inforum Newsletter. In our ongoing efforts to provide useful information to the whole of the health community, we continue to welcome any comments or suggestions you might have to help us improve this newsletter.
One Medic was killed and a Physician was seriously injured in Gaza

The latest casualty amongst the Palestinian medics of the soldier's indiscriminate shelling and firing in heavily populated Palestinian areas was the medic Munthir as-Safadi, (25) who was killed and Dr. Ra'ed as-Safadi (27), who was seriously injured in the abdomen while providing medical care to the wounded during the army attack on the Tuffah and Shejaeya neighborhoods in Gaza city on 18/19 February 2003. Another 10 Palestinians were killed by this attack.

According to the sources of PRCS the total number of conflict related Palestinian injuries and deaths in oPt since 29 September 2000 were 21,899 injuries and 2,117 deaths.

Medical staff could not reach to Jenin Villages

On February 23, an Israeli checkpoint prevented medical staff to reach clinics in the northern and eastern of Jenin's villages.

Dr. Mohammed Tafakji, the Director of Primary Health Care in Jenin governorate, mentioned that Al- Jalma checkpoint, northern of Jenin, have prevented, all cars conveying doctors and nurses to cross the roadblock.

He clarified that denying access of the medical staff to the clinics of Al Jalma, Beit Qad, Deir of Abu Da'aif, Galbon, and Faqoa, deprives the citizens from getting the medical services especially children and women.

Health Infield

Medicine Supply Distribution

Health Inforum worked hard during the last month on facilitating Drug and Disposables distribution from the MoH Central Drug Stores in Ramallah to other districts.

We would like to thank ICRC, UNRWA and Italian Cooperation for their tremendous support to facilitate 20 deliveries out of 24, which cover the needs for the period of January/February 2003.

The following table shows the distribution of drugs and disposables by destination, date of delivery and provider of trucks

Date of Delivery
Trucks Delivered
4 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
8 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
1 Truck
Italian Cooperation
1 Truck
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
2 Trucks
Beit Jala
3 Trucks
1 Truck
1 Truck
1 Truck
1 Truck
1 Truck

USAID Will Locally Procure Essential Medicines for the Ministry of Health

On February 24, 2003, USAID formally approved a $2 million expansion of its main emergency medical assistance program (EMAP), implemented by CARE International, to procure essential medicines for the Ministry of Health. The purpose is to build up Ministry of Health strategic reserves in a selected number of essential medicines, including commonly used antibiotics and medicines for chronic diseases prevalent in the Palestinian Territories. Their medicines were selected in careful and close coordination with the Ministry of Health.

The medicines will be procured locally. USAID is pleased that by procuring from reputable Palestinian companies, USAID/WBG will be supporting private sector activity and thus contributing to employment and income generation.

The EMAP program is USAID's primary emergency medical assistance program. In addition to procurement support to MOH and NGOs, it supports emergency care and rehabilitation NGOs through grants. It also includes a training component for doctors and nurses in emergency care protocols; and is providing regular and accurate information regarding health trends in the Palestinian Territories through a sentinel surveillance system and specific assessments.

Health Sector Bi-weekly Report, Number 8, January 10th, 2003

This issue highlights food security, water availability, and issues of service suspension throughout Gaza and West Bank.


  • During December, 387 of 640 (60.5%) households reported that the amount of food eaten by household members had decreased for more than one day during the previous two weeks; which is a bit higher than during the month of November (57.2%)
  • Households are consuming less in all food groups.
  • Since July, lack of money is increasingly becoming the primary reason cited for the decrease in food consumption in the West Bank. This trend continues through December.


  • During December, water interruption, adequate water for drinking, and adequate water for bathing showed some improvement; since November, water interruption decreased 9.2% in the WB and 3.5% in GS. Total water interruption in West Bank and Gaza combined was 24.4% of households in November and 17.8% of households in December.

As at the household level, water access at the facility level has improved significantly in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. During the month of December only three of the facilities surveyed, one each in Nablus, Bethlehem and Rafah, reported decreases in access to water - all others reported that their water supplies were the same as usual for that time of year. Causes and impact of water shortages in the three facilities in December were:

  • In Nablus: decreased access to water for staff and patient drinking, clinical service delivery, and housekeeping and sanitation as a result of damage to the facility's water tank;
  • In Bethlehem: decreased access to water for housekeeping and sanitation services as a result of non-delivery of purchased water;
  • In Rafah: decreased availability of drinking water for staff; the cause of the decreased water supply was unknown.

Health Services:

The access to emergency care and immunization services continues to improve in the last two rounds at the household level. The percentage of households reporting inability to access emergency care when needed dropped from 7.3% of households in November to 3.5% in December and the inability to access immunization services dropped from 3.6% in November to 2.2% in December. Although in the Gaza Strip, health facilities have not reported suspending services since May of 2002, in the West Bank at least one of the facilities surveyed reported suspending at least one of their services for most of the last half of 2003 (11 out of 15 rounds). The number of facilities that have been affected has decreased since late July.

  • At least 4 of the facilities surveyed in each round of data collection (between 35-45% of any given round) indicated disruptions in referral services;
  • 100% of the 30 facilities in which referrals were affected indicated that curfews, closures and/or impassable roads contributed to the disruptions;
  • 19 (63%) of the affected facilities indicated that curfews, closures and/or impassable roads were the only factors contributing to the disruptions (other possible causes include lack of ambulances or lack of essential staff):
  • The Districts most effected during that period were:
  • Hebron: 9 (69%) of 13 facilities surveyed;
  • Jenin: 6 (100%) of 6 facilities surveyed; and
  • Tulkarem: 7 (70%) of 10 facilities surveyed.

For more information refer to Health Inforum Web Portal:

PRCS Health Incidents Report (February 15-28, 2003)

Jerusalem and Jericho: PRCS has documented a trend over the past several weeks, in which Israeli police in the Jerusalem and Jericho areas issue traffic violations to PRCS ambulances for simply carrying patients in Israeli areas. The police are confiscating the ambulance and driving licenses for the medics, and issuing court dates.

Qalqilia, 27 February 2003 (11:55): The ambulance dispatch received a call from the Israeli Army's District Coordinating Office (DCO) requesting that they pick up a patient who was waiting at the checkpoint. The patient was being treated for gunshot wounds at an Israeli hospital, which decided to transfer him -- without prior arrangement -- to a Palestinian hospital during the worst storm the area has seen in decades. The man, whom the hospital declared to be in stable condition, died shortly after the transfer. Later hospital statements attempted to blame the death of the 62 yr old patient on the ambulance delay.

Nablus, 26 February 2003 (16:00): An ambulance transporting 2 patients from Sadet Salim to the hospital was detained by Israeli soldiers for one hour and 15 minutes.

Nablus, 22 February 2003 (05:00): An ambulance stopped at the Qusin checkpoint while responding to a call to pick up a woman who had gone into labor in the Dir Shaqa area. The gate of the checkpoint was closed, and no soldiers were in sight. After waiting for one hour, the ambulance crew was forced to turn back without the woman.

Nablus, 22 February 2003 (7:30): Jamal Abdel Nasser School: Israeli soldiers stopped an ambulance attempting to carry a patient from Al-Basha Street to the hospital. The soldiers detained the two PRCS volunteers who were part of the ambulance crew, and made them stand facing a wall. The other members of the medical team were permitted to transfer the patient to the hospital. After dropping the patient off, the ambulance returned to the place where the volunteers were detained. When they arrived, soldiers attacked them, hitting the driver with the door of the ambulance, shattering the driver's side window with a gun, and shouting at them to leave. After a one half-hour, the soldiers released the volunteers.

Nablus, 22 February 2003 (13:00): An ambulance, working out of a PRCS field hospital in the Old City, was stopped by Israeli soldiers while en route to make a delivery of medicine and baby formula to a house in the Al-Qarween neighborhood. The soldiers held the ambulance crew at gunpoint before allowing them to proceed. When the ambulance reached the house where the delivery was to be made, the street was too narrow for it to pass. One of the medics attempted to walk the supplies into the area. As he left the vehicle, Israeli soldiers fired in the direction of the ambulance and the medic. One of the bullets narrowly missed the medic, making a hole in the leg of his trousers. The ambulance crew left the scene. Later they returned via a different route. On their second attempt, they were again repelled by Israeli gunfire, and they left the relief goods at one of the neighboring houses.

Bethlehem, 27 February 2003 (16:30): Two ambulances were stopped by Israeli soldiers at the Hebron District Coordinating Office (DCO) checkpoint. The ambulances, one of which was from Hebron and the other from Bethlehem, were engaged in a back-to-back transfer of a cancer patient from the Beit Jala Hospital to Hebron. At the checkpoint, the soldiers refused to allow the patient to transfer to the Hebron ambulance, and instructed the Bethlehem ambulance to take the patient back. The patient refused to leave the checkpoint. After one hour and a half, the patient was finally allowed to go with the Hebron ambulance.

Bethlehem, 23 February 2003 (10:40): At the Gilo (Bethlehem) checkpoint, Israeli soldiers stopped an ambulance going to the Al-Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem. After checking the IDs of the crew, the soldiers allowed the ambulance to pass. When the ambulance reached the Tal Biot area, it was stopped by an Israeli Police vehicle. While they searched the ambulance, the police made the ambulance crew stand with their hands up. Then the soldiers commanded the ambulance crew to remove their shirts. They were detained for 50 minutes. One of the patients in the ambulance was in critical condition.

Nablus, 21 February 2003 (12:50): An ambulance was stopped at the Howara checkpoint while carrying children from the Qalandia checkpoint to Nablus. The children, who are cardiac patients, had arrived at the Qalandia checkpoint in a Gaza ambulance during their transfer from a hospital in Gaza to a hospital in Nablus. As the ambulance waited at the Howara checkpoint, an Israeli civilian stopped his car, got out, and stood in front of the ambulance shouting verbal abuse at the ambulance crew. The man insulted the driver of the ambulance and called out to the soldiers not to let the ambulance pass because its passengers were Arabs. A soldier came and stood between the man and the ambulance, but the man managed to hit the ambulance driver in the face, causing him to bleed. The soldier told the aggressor not to move, but the man ignored the order, got into his car and sped away.

Nablus, 20 February 2003 (10:45): The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) received a call requesting transportation for a patient on Mamoon Street. A PRCS ambulance drove to the house where the call originated. The house was under the control of the Israeli army, which had occupied and surrounded the building. The ambulance crew tried to access the patient twice, from two sides of the building. On the third try, soldiers in front of the house made the crew leave the ambulance and take off their clothes. The soldiers then commanded the ambulance crew to leave. The ambulance left without the patient and reported the incident to the ICRC.

Nablus, 20 February 2003 (10:45): An ambulance responding to a call to pick up a patient from the Old City was stopped by the Israeli army near the Al-Khalili Mosque. The soldiers shouted at the ambulance crew and made them turn around. The ambulance driver attempted to reach the patients by a different street, but was stopped again by Israeli soldiers. The soldiers refused to let them pass and demanded that they leave without the patient. Upon returning the EMS station, the crew reported the incident to the ICRC.

Nablus, 19 February 2003 (20:40): Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint stopped an ambulance that was transferring a patient from Al-Ittihad Hospital in Nablus to Al-Maqassed Hospital in Jerusalem. The soldiers made the ambulance wait for 45 minutes, claiming that the ambulance needed a permit to pass. During this time, the soldiers laughed at and verbally abusing the driver. Eventually, the driver called the Nablus EMS station to request ICRC intervention. The ambulance was finally allowed to pass after waiting an additional 10 minutes.

Nablus, 19 February 2003 (14:15): The Israeli army stopped an ambulance en route to pick up injuries in the Ras Al-Ain area. After searching the ambulance and checking the IDs of the crew, the soldiers forced one of the PRCS medics to accompany them into a nearby apartment building. They took the medic into one of the apartments and subsequently tied his hands and blindfolded him, making him sit on the stairs of the apartment building, where they hit him in the back with a gun. Whenever the medic asked why they were holding him, the soldiers responded with verbal abuse. At 19:00 he was still sitting on the stairs when one of the soldiers brought him some food that the ambulance crew sent for him. Then the soldiers retied his hands and took him to a school, which was being used as a detention center. He was questioned twice before being released.

Nablus, 19 February 2003 (21:10): Israeli soldiers refused to permit the passage of an ambulance that was responding to a call to pick up a child who had suffered a head injury in the Ras Al-Ain neighborhood, near the Ajaj Mosque. The ambulance attempted to reach the child by taking a different road, but was again stopped by soldiers and forced to turn back.

Jenin, 16 February 2003 (22:00): At the checkpoint near Arraba, the Israeli army refused passage to an ambulance, which was on its way to pick up a man who was suffering from a heart attack. Although the ambulance crew explained the situation, the soldiers made them wait for one hour and fifteen minutes while someone drove the patient to the checkpoint from the opposite side. When the patient arrived at the checkpoint, he was allowed to enter the ambulance, which took him to the hospital.

Tulkarem, 21 February 2003 (20:00): An ambulance responded to a call to treat a man who had been shot by Israeli soldiers. When they reached the victim of the shooting, he was already dead from being shot numerous times in the torso and neck. When the medics asked the soldiers why they had shot the man so many times, the soldiers replied that they had only shot him once.

Qalqilia, 21 February 2003 (20:20): The EMS dispatch received a call to pick up a woman in labor from Al-Jaha. Two ambulances responded, hoping that at least one of them would be able to reach the woman. On the way back, Israeli soldiers at the District Coordinating Office (DCO) checkpoint stopped both ambulances. They allowed the ambulance carrying the woman to pass, but detained the other vehicle, verbally abusing the crew and hitting the driver in the head before allowing them to return to Qalqilia.

Hebron, 16 February 2003 (11:00): Israeli soldiers refused passage to an ambulance near the Al-Zawiya Gate. The ambulance was on the way to pick up a woman who was 8 months pregnant and was in distress after inhaling tear gas. The ambulance crew, ignoring the soldiers command, proceeded past the soldiers and reached the woman. On the way out of the area, the ambulance was stopped again. The soldiers made everyone exit the ambulance, and proceeded to use their guns and their hands to hit the ambulance crew. Then they rammed a tank into the side of the ambulance, destroying the door on the driver's side. After these events, the ambulance successfully brought the woman to the hospital.

Ramallah, 20 February 2003 (22:30): Israeli soldiers at the Bet El checkpoint detained an ambulance with a patient inside. After waiting for 2 hours and coordinating with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the ambulance was allowed to pass. On the way back to Ramallah, the same soldiers detained the ambulance crew at the same checkpoint for 20 minutes.

Gaza City, 19 February 2003 (02:15): The EMS dispatch received a call to pick up two people from the Al-Karam intersection. Israeli soldiers had surrounded the area, so the ambulance crew coordinated their entry through the International Committee of the Red Cross. The Israeli army agreed to permit the ambulance passage on the condition that it drove slowly, with its lights flashing and the interior lights of the ambulance illuminated. When they reached Salah Al-Din Street, an Israeli tank gave them the signal to go ahead and the ambulance began to proceed as agreed. However, the tank began to approach the ambulance and soldiers positioned on the tank fired in the direction of the ambulance. At this point the ambulance left the scene.

These incidents constitute a breach of articles (19,24 & 25) of the First Geneva Convention, which guarantees the protection of medical units, establishments and personnel as well as articles (27, 55 and 56) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which calls for the protection of civilians.

For more information please contact Press Office at: Phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7 E-mail: pressoffice

Newly Posted on Health Inforum Web. Portal:

  • List of Medicines and Disposables needed for MoH in the West Bank.
  • List of essential Medicines to be procured by USAID.
  • Health Sector Bi-weekly Report, Number 8, 10 January 2003

For more information refer to Health Inforum Web Portal:


Please feel free to contact us for information at: Health Inforum, c/o the Italian Cooperation Sheik Jarrah, East Jerusalem

Tel: 02 532 7447
Fax: 02 532 2904


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