JERUSALEM, Thursday, February 25, 2021 (WAFA) – A 16-year-old child with hematologic disease and two adult men with cancer were denied an Israeli army permit to leave the besieged Gaza Strip for medical treatment at hospitals in Jerusalem or the West Bank, today said a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It said in the monthly Health Access Barriers for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory covering the month of January that the three patients were denied permits to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing with Israel to reach healthcare in January. The 16-year-old child with hematologic disease had an appointment in Istishari Hospital in Ramallah and the two adults 40-60 years with cancer had appointments in Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem.
According to the WHO report, 720 (males: 369; females: 351) or 76% of the 950 patient applications to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez in January were approved, an 8% increase compared to the approval rate of 68% for 2020.
It said 49% of the approved applications were female patients; a fifth (22%) were for children under 18; and a fifth (22%) for patients aged 60 years or older.
A total of 227 (males: 137; females: 90) patient applications, or 24% of the total, were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment, with 23% (52 applications) were for children under the age of 18; 69% (156 applications) for patients aged 18-60 years and 8% (19 applications) for patients over 60 years of old.
A third (34%) of those delayed had appointments for cancer care (oncology); 15% for ophthalmology; 11% for hematology; 7% for cardiology, and 4% for orthopedics. The remaining 29% were for 16 other specialties.
Of the delayed applications 52% (118) were for appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals, 32% for the West Bank and 15% for Israeli hospitals. Most delayed applications (187 or 82%) were ‘under study’ at the time of appointment.
In January, 5 (4 male; 1 female) patients between the age of 40-60 were requested for security interrogation by Israeli services as a prerequisite to processing their permit applications. Two patients had appointments in oncology, one for hematology, one for general surgery, and one for ophthalmology. By the end of January, one patient was approved, one was denied, and three remained pending.
The Health Liaison Office submitted 1,149 companion permit applications to Israeli authorities to accompany patients in January.
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 the Gaza Strip.
In January, 536 companion permit applications (47% of the total) were approved, 24 applications (2%) were denied and the remaining 589 (51%) were delayed, receiving no definitive response by the time of the patient’s appointment. The companion permit approval rate in January (47%) was similar to the monthly average in 2020.
Data showed that close to a quarter (23%) of patients crossed Beit Hanoun/Erez checkpoint in January without a companion.