News / Middle East

British Journal Warns of 'Urgent' Palestinian Health Crisis

Scene in Ramallah Hospital  pharmacy in West BankScene in Ramallah Hospital pharmacy in West Bank
x
Scene in Ramallah Hospital  pharmacy in West Bank
Scene in Ramallah Hospital pharmacy in West Bank
Selah Hennessy
Palestinian refugees and those living in the West Bank and Gaza are a facing an urgent health emergency, according to to the British public health journal, the Lancet.

The Lancet has published 32 reports highlighting a range of health concerns for Palestinian refugees living across the Middle East and Palestinian territories.

The journal says Palestinian refugees are dealing with a “hidden crisis” of high levels of chronic and acute illnesses.

Researchers from the American University of Beirut surveyed Palestinians living in refugee camps and other parts of Lebanon.  They found that 31 percent of the more than 300 people interviewed had chronic illnesses.  Just under half of those surveyed had water leaking from their walls or roofs, conditions that can be health threatening.

Another study from the same university found displaced Palestinians living in Lebanon are struggling with a low availability of adequate food.  A survey of around 2,500 households showed 63 percent were experiencing some food insecurity and 13 percent reported being severely in need of proper food.  

The World Health Organization Representative for the West Bank and Gaza Strip Tony Laurance, whose research was published in the Lancet, says many Palestinians face advanced illnesses, including cancers.  He says they struggle to get proper treatment because most Palestinians are refused permits to cross into Israel.

“Historically their main specialized hospitals have been charitable hospitals serving the Palestinian population for a century and more, which are based in East Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in the 1967 war.  So to get there from the West Bank they have to cross the separation barrier,” Laurance said.

According to Laurance's research, 19 percent of patients in the West Bank who applied for Israeli permits for health-care reasons had their requests either denied or delayed.  He says the Israeli authorities have made efforts to improve access.  But Laurance says the efforts have not gone far enough.

“I think the Israeli authorities have made efforts to ensure as many people as possible get their permits in time, but still there are 10 percent of patients that do not.  And that 10 percent, 1,000 patients a year approximately, is an issue of concern.  Statistics do not sound very telling or emotional, do they?  But when you think of this in terms of the individuals concerned or their families, I think you begin to appreciate what it actually means to the human beings involved,” Laurance said.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Health declined to comment to VOA on the findings of the Lancet reports.  The Lancet has been annually highlighting the plight of Palestinians.

In 2009, the journal described the health-care system in the Palestinian territories as "fragmented and incoherent".  An Israeli government spokesperson described that report as one-sided propaganda.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid