Gaza health clinic reopens – UNRWA
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Edited News | UNRWA

Gaza health clinic reopens – UNRWA

A glimmer of good news for Gazans as health centre reopens in Khan Younis

A gimmer of good news emerged from Gaza on Tuesday as patients returned to at a newly reopened UN health centre in Khan Younis, six months after it was severely damaged and forced to close by heavy fighting, the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) said.

The UNRWA Japanese Health Center in Khan Younis offers primary healthcare services and houses a pharmacy and medical staff who had previously fled as fighting and Israeli tanks rolled through the streets outside.

Now rehabilitated, the clinic can respond to the needs of thousands of displaced people who have returned to Khan Younis seeking shelter. There are no other health facilities in this part of the city, UNRWA Senior Communications Officer Louise Wateridge said.

“The staff we have spoken to today were here on the last day this clinic was open, which was on 21 January this year and they tell us how the facility was surrounded by tanks and bombardment, a lot of shooting,” Ms. Wateridge explained. “They had to immediately flee not only the clinic but also the area with their families…People in Gaza desperately need healthcare, but only a fraction of UNRWA health centres are operational, due to the ongoing military operations and damage and destruction of UNRWA facilities.”

On its first day back up and running, 33 medical staff reported for duty at the centre and supported more than 900 patients, Ms. Wateridge said.

Among the medical staff at the centre, lab technician Abou described the trauma of having to flee with other Gazans in January as Israeli tanks approached. “I have been working in the Japanese clinic for 20 years…I was in the clinic until the last day. I went through the very bitter and very difficult experience of displacement. Our spirits lifted after we heard that the Japanese clinic is functioning again; sick people feel relieved.”

Today, the centre offers pre and post-natal care and blood tests, treatment for non-communicable diseases and provision of critical outpatient treatment, after the UN agency led efforts to clear broken masonry, glass and bullets from the facility.

Like many UNRWA health facilities, the Japanese health centre operates double-shift rotations to manage the high influx of patients from 8am to 5pm. But referrals to UNRWA-contracted hospitals have become increasingly complex owing to a shortage of electricity and a lack of supplies, said Ms. Wateridge. Today, the agency has 100 temporary medical points and eight out of 26 functional health centres.

Mental health support

As of 26 June, the UN agency provided mental health and psychosocial support services in Gaza’s Middle and Khan Younis areas with teams of psychiatrists and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.

In total, UNRWA teams have responded to 626 cases in health centres and at medical points through individual consultations, offering awareness sessions and support for cases of gender-based violence. The UN agency’s staff also provided medical care for 391 post-natal and pregnant women at high risk.

Insufficient capacity

Across Gaza, hospitals and health care in general remains completely overwhelmed, after nine months of heavy Israeli bombardment, sparked by Hamas-led terror attacks on multiple locations in southern Israel, in which some 1,250 people were killed and more than 250 taken hostage.

According to the UN health agency, total capacity at the six partially functional hospitals in southern Gaza - including three in Deir Al Balah and three in Khan Younis – is just 1,334 beds.

Out of 11 field hospitals in the Gaza Strip, three have had to temporarily shut down and four are only partially functioning, “due to the hostilities in Rafah and reduced access”, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Regarding the hospital infrastructure, “the level of destruction is such that it is difficult to even imagine how much time will it take [to rebuild] once the war is over,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday.

Tedros slams evacuations

“There’s really no safe corner in Gaza,” insisted the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warning in an online post that the latest reports of evacuation orders in Gaza City “will further impede delivery of very limited lifesaving care”.

“Al-Ahli and Patient Friendly hospitals are out of service; patients either self-evacuated, were given early discharge or referred to Kamal Adwan and Indonesian hospitals, which are suffering shortage of fuel, beds and trauma medical supplies,” the WHO chief continued.

“Indonesian Hospital is triple over its capacity. Al-Helou Hospital is within the blocks of the evacuation order but continues to be partially functional. As-Sahaba and Al-Shifa hospitals are in close proximity to the areas under evacuation order but remain functional so far. Six medical points and two primary health care centers are also within the evacuation zones.”

ends

STORY: Gaza health clinic reopens – UNRWA 

TRT: 2:46” 

SOURCE: UNTV CH  

RESTRICTIONS: NONE  

LANGUAGE: ARABIC / NATS  

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9  

DATELINE: 09 JULY 2024 Gaza, OPT

 

1. Exterior wide shot: Exterior shot of the Japanese Health Center in Gaza with UN vehicles.

2. Medium shot: Japanese Health Center from outside.

3. Medium shot: UNRWA staff in a meeting inside the Japanese Health Center.

4. Medium shot: UNRWA staff inside the clinic talking.

5. Close-up shot: UNRWA employee talking.

6. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) – Dr. Mohamed, a General Practitioner at the centre “We started working in the Japanese clinic since the start of the emergency period, and we continued to provide our humanitarian and health services during the emergency period until the displacement in late January. Afterwards we moved to the Mawasi area, where we faced many problems and challenges. After the return of the displaced to the areas surrounding the Japanese clinic, we prepared the clinic, it was like a dream to return to our workplaces which we consider as our home.”

7. Medium shots: patients inside the Japanese Health Center.

8. Close-up: employee UNRWA inside the clinic helping patients.

9. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) – Abou Omar, lab technician: “I have been working in the Japanese clinic for 20 years. I went through very difficult conditions; I was in the clinic until the last day. Approximately until 21 January, I went through the very bitter and very difficult experience of displacement.”

10.  Medium shots: patients and staff inside the Japanese Health Center.

11. Sign for pharmacy written in Arabic.

12. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) – Abou Omar, lab technician: “Our spirits lifted after we heard that the Japanese clinic is functioning again. My colleagues, the doctors and I were so happy. To be honest, even sick people feel relieved.”

13. Medium shots: patients and staff.

14. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) – Itaf, midwife“I have been working in the Japanese clinic since 2008.  I continued my work in the clinic even during the war until we had to evacuate the clinic and were displaced from the Japanese clinic of course from my house. The displacement was to more than one place, we were displaced many times. The displacement period was very, very, very difficult, so we were exposed to many situations and thanks God.”

15. Close-up: sign for the pharmacy written in Arabic.

16. Medium shots: patients and staff. 

-Ends-


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