JERUSALEM, Monday, December 31, 2018 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities continued in November to deny Gazans injured in the border protest access to medical treatment outside the besieged Gaza Strip.
In its monthly report on health access barriers for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory for the month of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that out of 51 permit applications in November for people injured during the protests seeking treatment outside Gaza, only four applications were approved, it said six were denied and 41 delayed.
As of 30 November, according to Gaza’s Coordination and Liaison Office, there had been 386 applications to Israeli authorities by those injured in demonstrations to exit Gaza via Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing to access health care outside Gaza. Of those applications, 78 (20%) were approved, 122 (32%) were denied and 186 (48%) were delayed.
WHO said 1,561 (819 male; 742 female), or 62% of the 2,519 applications to cross Erez in November were approved. Over a third (35%) of permits approved were for children under age of 18 and a fifth (20%) were for people aged 60 years or older.
A total of 180 patient applications (133 male; 47 female), or 7% of the total, were denied permission to cross Erez for health care in November. Those denied included seven children under the age of 18 years and 10 patients aged 60 years or older.
Of the denied applications, 27% were for appointments in orthopedics, 23% for neurosurgery, 9% for ophthalmology, 8% for cancer treatment and investigation and 7% for general surgery. More than 96% of denied permit applications were for appointments at hospitals in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
In addition, 778 patient applications (478 male; 300 female), or 31% of the total, were delayed access to care, receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment. Of these, 188 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 74 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older.
Of those delayed, 18% had appointments in orthopedics, 16% for oncology, 7% for ophthalmology, 7% for general surgery, and 7% for cardiology. The remaining 45% were for 21 other specialties.
Three patients were called for security interrogation as a prerequisite to travel for health care, said the report, including a 30-year-old man with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a 51-year-old man with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and a 49-year-old woman with cancer breast. None of these patients’ applications was approved.
In November, there were 2,836 permit applications to Israeli authorities to cross Erez to accompany patients. These applications include parents or other companions applying to accompany children. Only one companion is permitted to accompany each Gaza patient and permits are conditional on security clearance. In November, 1,386 (49%) patient companion applications were approved, 256 applications (9%) were denied and the remaining 1,194 (42%) were delayed, receiving no definitive response by the time of the patient’s application.