WHO says July was Highest Month for Gaza Patient Referrals

JERUSALEM, August 29, 2013 (WAFA) – Gaza patient referrals by the Ministry of Health for treatment outside the Gaza Strip was the highest in July since 2006 with almost 1300 patients seeking permit to cross Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing with Israel to reach hospitals in Israel, East Jerusalem or the West Bank, The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday in its monthly report on Gaza patient referrals.

It said 85% of patients’ applications for permits were approved, 7% lower than the 2012 average rate.

Seven patients, all males, were denied permits, compared to six denied from January through June. In addition, 186 patients (14.32%; 56 females and 130 males) received no response, including 61 children, which delayed medical treatment, said WHO.

Nevertheless, the number of permits approved during July was the highest monthly total in the last eight years, it said.

According to the report, the Israeli authorities interrogated 21 male patients who had applied for permits to cross Beit Hanoun checkpoint and were requested to appear for Israeli security interviews. None were later granted permits.

Two patient companions were detained while travelling through Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint; one is still in detention.

The report said 141 patients were referred to Egypt, a drop of more than 50% of the usual number and only two were referred to hospitals in Jordan reflecting a June 2012 decision by most Jordanian hospitals to halt new Ministry of Health referrals due to outstanding Palestinian Authority debts.

M.S.

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