Monthly Report: Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip, December 2016

Situation Report
Originally published
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Ref: 12 (published February 1, 2017)

Summary: December 2016

Lack of access through Erez crossing

  • High volume of permit requests: In the last two months permit applications increased 20% over the previous month due largely to a high number of repeat applications from patients who were denied or had no response in previous months.

  • 58.3% of patients are denied/delayed permits: Of 2,596 patient applications for a permit to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in December, only 41.7% were approved, marking the lowest approval rate recorded by WHO since April 2009. 91 patients (3.5%) were denied permits, among them 8 elderly persons over 60 years, while 1,422 patients (54.8%) received no response, including 323 children and 103 elderly people over 60 (Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza).  65% of patients’ companions are denied/ delayed permits: The approval rate for permit applications of patient companions was 35%; about 9.7% of the companions were denied permits and the remaining 55.3% were still pending at the time of the patients’ hospital dates.

  • Security interrogations: 29 patients (17 males; 12 females), among them a female child, were requested by the General Security Services for interviews at Erez during December. 8 were approved.

  • Humanitarian health workers through Erez: Of 11 WHO requests, only 3 (27%) were approved. 2 were denied and 6 were pending.

Limited Rafah exit in December

  • Access to Egypt improved: According to Palestinian officials at Rafah terminal, the Rafah border terminal was open in both directions for 6 days in December allowing 424 patients to travel for health reasons to Egypt. Two ambulance cars donated by Indonesia entered Gaza.

Ministry of Health referrals in December

  • Financial coverage: The Ministry of Health issued 2,006 referral decisions (benefiting 1,800 patients) in December for outside care with an estimated cost of NIS 8,647,424. The top 5 needed specialties for Gaza patients were in oncology, haematology, orthopaedics, heart catheterization and paediatrics.