Israel’s continued siege of Gaza is having an effect on medical services leaving many residents struggling.
With procedures costing around $30,000, residents of Gaza have had to turn to charities and international aid to pay for their operations.
“Around 4,000 Palestinians need to leave Gaza for urgent medical treatment but they can’t because of the siege,” Dr Ashraf Al Qidra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told Al Jazeera.
“Cancer patients are particularly affected as their condition is deteriorating. Our whole medical system is crumbling. We can’t get equipment in and we cannot train our doctors.”
The Israeli government maintains the blockade, which has been in place since 2007, is necessary for its security.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health says the siege alone is responsible for the dire healthcare situation in the heavily populated strip of 1.8 million people.
Only Palestinians with severe illnesses are permitted to seek medical treatment outside of Gaza, the ministry said before adding the residents must follow a complicated procedure that requires approval from the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government.
A 2015 report by Physicians for Human Rights found that Palestinians on average live 10 years less than Israelis and their infant mortality rate is five times higher.
The study also found that Palestine’s national expenditure on healthcare per person is one-eighth of Israel’s.