Monthly Report: Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip, January 2017
Ref: 1 (Published March 23, 2017)
Summary: January 2017
Difficult access through Erez crossing
More than half of patients were denied/delayed permits: Of 2,792 patient applications for a permit to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in January, 46.95% were approved and 53.05% were denied/delayed. 98 patients (3.51%) were denied permits, among them 6 children less than 18 and 8 persons over 60 years; 1,383 (49.53%) received no response including 320 children and 92 people over 60 (Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza).
61.4% of patients’ companions were denied/ delayed permits: The approval rate for permit applications of patient companions was 38.6%; 5.85% of the companions were denied permits and the remaining 55.6% were still pending by the patients’ scheduled hospital dates.
Security interrogations for patients: 35 patients (24 males; 11 females) including 2 children were requested by the General Security Services for interviews at Erez during January. 8 were approved.
Rafah exit eased
Access to Egypt improved: According to Palestinian officials at Rafah terminal, the Rafah border terminal was open in both directions for 4 days in January allowing 490 patients to travel for health reasons to Egypt.
Ministry of Health Referrals
Financial coverage: The Ministry of Health issued 2,320 referral decisions for 2,029 Gaza patients (45.56% female patients and 54.44% male patients) in January for outside care with an estimated cost of NIS 9,844,096. The top 5 needed specialties for Gaza patients were in oncology, haematology, paediatrics, heart catheterization, and ophthalmology.
Rafah Crossing: Limited access to Egypt during January: According to Palestinian officials at Rafah terminal, the Rafah border terminal was open on 4 days during January for humanitarian cases. Of the 2,324 travellers who crossed to Egypt, 490 reported they were travelling for health reasons with 262 companions, the highest number of travellers for health reasons since June 2015. 10 of the patients, with 14 companions, were transferred by ambulance. No medical aid or medical delegates entered Gaza during the month. In the year 2016, the Rafah crossing has been open only 38 days for humanitarian cases, allowing only 1,690 patients to travel into Egypt for health care.
Before the July 2013 closure, more than 4,000 Gaza residents crossed Rafah terminal to Egypt monthly for health-related reasons.
Erez Crossing: Permit approval rates was 15.7% lower than the average approval rate of 2016: In January, there were 2,792 applications from patients for permits to cross Erez for health care.
About 27% (755) of patient applications in January were repeat applications by patients to cross Erez: 5 attempts for 2 patient, 4 attempts for 3 patients, 3 attempts for 33 patients and 2 attempts for 317 patients. The remaining 73% (2,037) applications represented single attempts by patients during the month.