JERUSALEM, Saturday, April 24, 2021 (WAFA) – A 70-year-old woman was among four Gaza cancer patients denied an Israeli permit to leave the besieged Gaza Strip to seek medical treatment in East Jerusalem, West Bank or Israeli hospitals, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) monthly report on health access for Palestinian patients.
It said six patients (four males and two females) or 0.5% of the total applications were denied permits to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez to reach healthcare in March. Those denied included a female cancer patient aged 70 years. Three had appointments for cancer care (oncology), one for ophthalmology, one for cardiology, and one for urology. Three had appointments at hospitals in the West Bank and three in East Jerusalem.
Israel approved 853 (male: 427 and female: 426) or 66% of the 1,293 patient applications to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez in March for medical treatment, 9% less than the average approval rate of the previous two months (75%) and 2% less than the average approval rate for 2020 (68%), said WHO.
Half (50%) of the approved applications were female patients; more than a fifth (25%) were for children under 18; and close to a quarter (24%) for patients aged 60 years or older, it said, adding that 434 (M: 250; F: 184) patient applications, or 34% of the total, were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment.
Of the delayed applications, 21% (89 applications) were for children under the age of 18; 65% (283 applications) for patients aged 18-60 years and 14% (62 applications) for patients over 60 years of age. Close to two-fifths (38%) of those delayed had appointments for oncology; 18% for ophthalmology; 7% for hematology; 6% for orthopedics; 6% for cardiology, and 5% for pediatrics. The remaining 20% were for 15 other specialties.
Of delayed applications, 63% (275) were for appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals, 24% (102) for the West Bank, 12% (54) for Israeli hospitals and 1% (3) for hospitals in Jordan. Most delayed applications (293 or 68%) were ‘under study’ at the time of appointment.
In March, six (5 male; 1 female) patients between the age of 18 to 60 were requested for security interrogation by the Israeli security services as a prerequisite to processing their permit applications. Two patients had appointments for oncology, two for cardiology, one for orthopedics and one for internal medicine. Four of them had appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals and two in the West Bank. By the end of March, one was denied and five remained under study.
The Health Liaison Office in the Gaza Strip submitted 1,514 companion permit applications to Israeli authorities to accompany patients in March. These applications include parents or other companions applying to accompany children. Patients are eligible to apply to Israeli authorities for one companion to accompany them for health care outside Gaza.
In March, 637 companion permit applications (42% of the total) were approved, 13 applications (1%) were denied and the remaining 864 (57%) were delayed, receiving no definitive response by the time of the patient’s appointment. The companion permit approval rate in March (42%) was 5% lower than the monthly average of 47% for 2020.
There were 1,293 (M: 681; F: 612) patient permit applications for patients from the Gaza Strip to the Israeli authorities in March 2021. A quarter (24%) were for children under 18 and a fifth (20%) were for patients aged 60 years or older. 47% were for female patients, while 88% were for referrals funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Two-thirds (66%) of applications to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez were for appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals, more than a fifth (22%) for West Bank hospitals outside East Jerusalem, 12% for Israeli hospitals and 3 applications for hospitals in Jordan.
The top five specialties accounted for 77% of permit applications: oncology (46%); ophthalmology (9%); hematology (9%); cardiology (7%); and pediatrics (6%). The remaining 23% of applications were for 21 other specialties.