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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs