Monthly Report: Health Access - Barriers for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory, April 2018

Situation Report
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Part 1 Referrals

April Referrals by the Ministry of Health

In April, the Palestinian Ministry of Health approved 3,077 referral requests for Palestinian patients from Gaza to non-Ministry of Health facilities, the highest number of referrals issued for Gaza patients in a month, according to WHO records. 2,332 (76%) referrals were for health care outside the Gaza Strip, with 2,178 (71%) requiring access through Erez terminal to Israel and 154 (5%) requiring access through Rafah terminal to Egypt. A quarter (25%) of referrals were for cancer treatment and follow up. Chart 1 shows the number of referral documents issued to patients in Gaza from January 2017 to April 2018.


The Gaza Strip

Of 2,037 applications to cross Erez for health care in April, approximately a third (30%) were for children under age of 18 and almost one in five (18%) were for patients over the age of 60. Just under half (46%) of applications were for female patients and 94% of applications were for medical care funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Approximately three in every five (61%) applications to cross Erez were for appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals, a fifth (21%) were for Israeli hospitals and a fifth (18%) for hospitals in the West Bank. Makassed Hospital (29%) and Augusta Victoria Hospital (25%), both in East Jerusalem, were the receiving hospitals for more than half of referrals. Permit applications for the top five needed specialties accounted for three-fifths of referrals (61%): oncology (29%); cardiology (9%); paediatrics (8.5%); haematology (8%) and orthopaedics (7%). The remaining 39% were for 26 other specialties.

Approved permit applications: 1,087 (576 male; 511 female), or 53% of the 2,037 applications to cross Erez in April 2018 were approved. Chart 2 shows a 12-month trend of Israeli responses to Gaza patient permit applications. Two in five (40%) of those approved were children under age of 18 and about a quarter (25%) were elderly people over 60 years of age.