Update on Health in Gaza - WHO
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Edited News | WHO

Update on Health in Gaza - WHO

Gaza’s health system ‘on its knees’ with almost 70 per cent of hospitals not functioning - WHO

The UN health agency (WHO) warned on Friday that Gaza’s health system is “on its knees”. Due to intense hostilities and limited connectivity, WHO has not received updated data for the past four days on injuries and deaths from the enclave’s ministry of health.

“We know that the health system is on its knees and that currently 65 per cent - that is 47 out of 72 primary care facilities - are not functioning and the ones which are functioning are partly functioning,” reported Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from Jerusalem, briefing journalists at the United Nations in Geneva. “More than 70 per cent of the hospitals are currently nonfunctioning - 25 out of the 36.”

This situation is clearly insufficient to meet the “endless” needs arising from more than five weeks of Israeli bombardment in response to the 7 October Hamas terror attacks. Active ground operations in Gaza city and near the hospitals, along with the lack of fuel, have halted the movement of rescue teams and ambulances in many areas, UN aid coordination office OCHA reported.

“Before the conflict we talked about 3,500 hospital beds operational in Gaza. And today we talked about an estimated 1,400. The minimum occupancy raised over 150 (per cent). Based on our plans, the needs at the moment will be 5,000 beds,” stressed Dr. Peeperkorn.

The WHO is extremely concerned about the spread of diseases as the rainy season and winter arrive. Overcrowded shelters and the overall lack of water and sanitation across Gaza could increase the risk of transmission.

Since mid-October the Ministry of Health, UNRWA and WHO have recorded “more than 70,000, 72,000 cases of acute respiratory infections, 44,000 cases of diarrhea, 808 cases of chickenpox, 15,000 skin rashes, the scabies, lice, and we also got patients now of hepatitis A,” according to Dr. Peeperkorn.

The WHO reiterated its call for daily sustained, orderly, unimpeded and safe medical evacuations of critically injured and sick patients into Egypt.

“We need a mechanism for medical evacuation. Over the coming months, we will work out that the patients in needs, and that it's not just multiple traumas, it's all kinds of patients which are critical need for evacuation, also think cancer patients which cannot get their treatments,” said Dr. Peeperkorn. “So, there's many other patients which should be prioritized for every medical evacuation into Egypt.”

The WHO also reported on Friday that a mechanism for the entry of fuel into the war-torn Palestinian enclave has reportedly been agreed upon so that urgently needed humanitarian operations can be restored.

“There is a mechanism for the entry of fuel, which would be, I think, the best news of today. And of course, we really hope and plea that this mechanism is being going to be sustained to make sure that humanitarian operation can function, that UNWRA can do its job keeping the operation going.”

WHO remains extremely worried for the safety of patients, health workers and IDPs sheltering not only at Al-Shifa but all other hospitals that are besieged and facing intense hostilities. The UN health agency reminded again that under international humanitarian law health facilities, health workers, ambulances, patients must be safeguarded and protected against all acts of war. International humanitarian law must be respected.

-ends-

STORY Update on Health in Gaza - WHO

TRT: 2:32”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 17 November 2023 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN building with UN flag, UN Geneva.
  2. Wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  3. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory: “We know that the health system is on its knees and that currently 65 per cent - that is 47 out of 72 primary care facilities - are not functioning and the ones which are functioning are partly functioning, so to say more than 70 per cent, almost 70 per cent of the hospitals are currently nonfunctioning - 25 out of the 36.”
  4. Cutaway: Medium shot, press briefing room with a spokespersons and a journalists, UN Geneva
  5. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory: “We've recorded already more than 70,000, 72,000 cases of acute respiratory infections, 44,000 cases of diarrhea, 808 cases of chickenpox, 15,000 skin rashes, the scabies, lice, and we also got patients now of hepatitis A.”
  6. Cutaway: Medium shot, press briefing room with a technician and a journalist, UN Geneva
  7. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory: “Before the conflict we talked about 3,500 hospital beds operational in Gaza. And today we talked about an estimated 1,400. The minimum occupancy raised over 150 (per cent). Based on our plans, the needs at the moment will be 5,000 beds.”
  8. Cutaway: Medium shot, press briefing room with a spokesperson and a journalist, UN Geneva
  9. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) - Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory: “We need a mechanism for medical evacuation. Over the coming months, we will work out that the patients in needs,  and that it's not just multiple traumas, it's all kinds of patients which are critical need for evacuation, also think cancer patients which cannot get their treatments. So there's many other patients which should be prioritized for every medical evacuation into Egypt.”
  10. Cutaway: Wide shot, press briefing room with spokesperson, journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  11. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory: “There is a mechanism for the entry of fuel, which would be, I think, the best news of today. And of course, we really hope and plea that this mechanism is being going to be sustained and that it's going to be sustained to make sure that humanitarian operation can function that UNWRA can do its job keeping the operation going.”
  12. Cutaway: Wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  13. Cutaway: close up, journalist listening, UN Geneva
  14. Cutaway: close up, journalist listening, UN Geneva

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