Date: 20 August 2019
ICSPR deplores the actions of the Ministry of Health to put more restrictions on the work and activity of international medical organizations and delegations in the Gaza Strip
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights “ICSPR” follows with great concern and censure the new procedures initiated by the Ministry of Health in Ramallah, by asking medical delegations, international medical organizations and governmental and non-governmental relief institutions, not to deal directly with the departments of the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip except through the Ministry in Ramallah.
According to the Ministry of Health, based on a letter ICSPR received from Dr. Ashraf Al-Qedra, he confirmed that the Ministry of Health in Ramallah has started implementing a number of new measures, including demanding international organizations, relief institutions and medical delegations not to deal directly with the departments of the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, and not to provide any assistance or medical drugs to the Ministry in the Gaza Strip and to supply to the Ministry’s warehouses in the West Bank, and prevent medical delegations to take any supplies in favor of completing its treatment programs and surgical operations directly to hospitals in the Gaza Strip and to be directly transferred to the Ministry in Ramallah, and from their the ministry will send them to Gaza strip.
ICSPR considers the recent actions of the Ministry of Health in Ramallah as unjustified restrictions on the work of international medical organizations, which constitute more than 80% of the total support provided to the Ministry of Health, and fears that these measures will be part of the discriminatory policy of the Palestinian government towards Gaza Strip, especially in light of the continued shortage of pharmaceutical items, which amounted to about 62% of the list of specialized medicines in the Gaza Strip hospitals, and stresses on the importance of immediately stopping any procedures and practices that will further deteriorate the level of health services that have reached an unprecedented catastrophic level. Therefore, ICSPR demands the following:
- ICSPR renews its call on all parties to the importance of neutralizing the health sector services necessary for citizens and not to place them in the context of political conflict.
- ICSPR calls upon the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to reconsider its recent procedures, in order to ensure the facilitation of the work of international medical organizations and delegations wishing to work with and next to the departments of the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, or civil and international health organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.
- ICSPR calls upon the departments of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah and Gaza to coordinate their work to ensure that citizens have equal access to the best level of physical and mental health care.
- ICSPR calls upon the departments of the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip to announce in a transparent and accurate manner the list of beneficiaries of medical services and assistance provided by international medical and relief organizations and medical delegations.
- ICSPR urges the World Health Organization (WHO) to pressure the Palestinian government to ensure that it retracts from its recent procedures to respect its legal obligations under Palestine’s accession to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2014.