|Medical supplies for Gaza|
Gaza - Palestine Press - and agencies
Translated from Arabic by Michelle Cohen
Tamer was passionate about football, and won the bronze medal twice at school. Today he is bedridden at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. His four limbs are surrounded by water bags so as not to move until the date of the special process.
Fourtneen-year-old Tamer of the Yarmouk District of Gaza City, was longing for the omelettes made by his mother when he returned from school and crossed a road without seeing the oncoming car that knocked him down and broke his left thigh. His school bag and clothing were torn, and his parents do not have the means to replace them.
Tamer's mother was asked to go to a pharmacy to buy gauze and a special corset for his broken body. Nurses claim that the hospital is too "poor" to supply Tamar with necessary supplies, while Tamar is screaming in pain.
Next Tuesday, surgeons will decide if Tamar will be transferred for treatment at home.
The driver had no insurance or a license and is unable to bear any expenses. The driver supports a family of ten and Tamar's father demands that the driver be imprisoned. Since he cannot afford the expenses, Tamar's father also demands a 500 NIS daily payment for hospitalisation from the driver.
The free hospital has no medical supplies, and patients suffer as a result of medical negligence. Citizens have to purchase supplies from nearby pharmacies and give the supplies to nurses who then exercise the functions of nursing their patients.
The Health Ministry said, "Medical supplies are controlled by Hamas in Gaza. The Ministry said, "Hamas possesses seven million tablets of Deklovin. In order to keep their dignity, some doctors purchase the painkiller at their own expense.
Director General of Pharmacy, Ministry of Health in Gaza, Mounir Perch, confirmed that Gaza has a big problem. Hamas is withholding 100 different drugs and 160 types of disposable medical supplies as well as cotton and other supplies required for operating rooms.
According to Perch, this shortage bears the greatest responsibility upon the Ministry of Health in the West Bank that did not properly provide for the sector in 2008 — providing only 48% in medical dues, and in 2009 only 50%. Only 37% of medical related items paid by the World Bank reached Gaza in the past two months.
So the issue is political while patients remain the victim. Perch said, "Patients face political adversaries. We want to provide patients with essential medicines in pharmacies." It is, as he put it, "not just a problem, but a problem of painkillers, essential drugs and medicines, anesthesia and medical supplies. It is a problem unless patients receive a prescription drug from a private doctor and not from a hospital doctor or the Ministry of Health.
What about the tons of medicine brought by the allied convoys? Perch said, "They do not reach the 1.5 million residents of Gaza."
The solution Perch says, "I do not need a daily supply of tugboats of these medicines and supplies, just give the Gaza Strip, its share of drugs paid by the World Bank."
In response to Perch, the citizens assert that the pharmacies in the Gaza Strip are full of various drugs. Ironically, the drugs that are purchased from pharmacies each ahve a label on which it is written, "With the support of the state" or "Aid to the Palestinian people of the State" or "In charitable support."
Wondering how Hamas says that the hospitals have no drugs for patients, while pharmacies are full of all kinds of drugs and medical supplies. Donated drugs are being sold to pharmacies and then sold to the poor who are dying of disease and pain.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, has confirmed that it sent on Monday, 18.10.2010, seventeen "17" truckloads of medicines and medical supplies to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing.
The ministry said in a press release of the Palestine Press Agency that the batch contains 228 drugs, and headed to the warehouses of the Ministry in the sector.
Dr. Fathi Abu Boilid, Minister of Health, who oversaw the process of loading and transferring of trucks, said that this batch of medical equipment contains large quantities of drugs for cancer, antibiotics, laboratory materials and medical supplies, milk for child patients and medicines for patients with kidney and heart diseases.
He emphasized that it had been determined what types of medicines and equipment are needed in the Gaza Strip based on demands from hospitals and health centres, and therefore, all these medicines and aid are to be sent to respective locations where patients are in need.
Abu Boilid, the Ministry of Health continues the lifeline of the Gaza Strip, and added, "We do our duty and moral duty towards our people and our children in the Gaza Strip." He demanded an end to the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and the restoration of national unity and to end the division.
But the question is left unanswered: Why do Gaza hospitals have a shortage of medicines, while Hamas loots and sells them on the black market?