Sunday, June 12, 2011

Minister: Gaza Medical

Crisis 'Unprecedented'

June 11, 2011

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are suffering a critical shortage of medicine and medical supplies, Hamas Health Minister Bassem Naem said Saturday.

The crisis was unprecedented even during Israel's massive offensive on Gaza in December 2008, Naem said, adding that the situation was worsening by the day.

Speaking at a conference in Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Naem said 180 types of medicine and 200 medical items had run out in Gaza, including alcohol and needles.

All health facilities were affected by the deficit, the minister said, adding that Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip exacerbated the crisis.

The Gaza health ministry announced a state of emergency in Gaza on Wednesday.

On Friday, Naem announced that pre-scheduled surgeries would be canceled, including children's operations, cardiac catheterization, laparoscopic surgery and bone and nerve operations. He said the ministry would reduce medical services including laboratory tests.

An eye hospital in Gaza City reported Saturday that it had canceled 12 surgeries because doctors had run out of medical supplies.

In An-Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, the shortage affected 142 patients who could not be given medicine.

Sources in the Gaza Health Ministry said Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath had promised to send medicine to Gaza from Ramallah, but that the supplies never arrived.

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