The Stream

What’s left of Gaza’s fragile health system?

On Monday, May 24 at 19:30 GMT:
The 11-day Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip caused widespread death and destruction and, though a ceasefire has now been declared, the impact of violence will linger – perhaps most notably on the health system.

Last week, Israeli air raids in the vicinity of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in Gaza City killed at least 42 people, including 10 children. Bombing raids also damaged the Gaza City offices of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, a US-based charity that helps children get medical treatment in the US and Europe. The same day, the Qatari Red Crescent Society said its office was hit. Gaza’s top two doctors were killed. And officials say the territory’s only coronavirus testing lab was severely damaged.

The Palestinian enclave’s medical system had already been gutted by a more than 14-year blockade – there are shortages of equipment and supplies such as blood bags, surgical lamps, anaesthesia, antibiotics, oxygen and PPE. Last month, Gaza’s daily coronavirus cases and deaths hit record highs, fuelled by the spread of the UK variant, the relaxation of movement restrictions during Ramadan, and apathy over protocols.

In this episode, we’ll discuss what is left of Gaza’s healthcare system and ask whether, after years of resiliency, it is now at breaking point.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Weeam Hammoudeh, @whammoudeh
Assistant Professor, Institute of Community and Public Health — Birzeit University

Mahmoud Shalabi, @MedicalAidPal
Senior Programme Manager, MAP (Medical Aid for Palestinians), Gaza

Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah, @GhassanAbuSitt1
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon