In the Palestinian territories, access to care seriously hampered by Israeli restrictions, according to the World Bank

In the Palestinian territories, access to care seriously hampered by Israeli restrictions, according to the World Bank

2023-09-18 14:20:45

The restrictions imposed by Israel and the growing budgetary constraints affecting the Palestinian territories are having serious consequences on access to health care for Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the World Bank said Monday, September 18, in a report published on the economic situation of these territories.

The Palestinian economy thus suffers from the restrictions imposed by Israel on travel and trade in the occupied West Bank, the blockade of the Gaza Strip and even the division between these two entities, notes this report.

Therefore, it works “well below its potential”, while per capita income is expected to stagnate due to population growth, underlines the institution. The World Bank also predicts an increase in poverty in the Palestinian territories, with one in four inhabitants living below the poverty line.

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“A long and bureaucratic process of obtaining authorizations”

“Budgetary constraints weigh heavily on the Palestinian health system, and in particular on its capacity to cope with the growing burden of non-communicable diseases”said Stefan Emblad, the World Bank director for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in a statement accompanying the report.

Restrictions, in particular “a long and bureaucratic process of obtaining authorizations”make access to care difficult for Palestinians, and affect the treatment of patients for cancer, heart disease, pathological pregnancies or childhood illnesses, it is underlined.

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Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip cross the border each year for treatment in Israel. However, many Palestinians are unable to do so, either due to lack of exit permits or because the Palestinian authorities refuse to pay for treatment.

In 2022, Israel has granted entry permits for more than 110,000 medical visits to residents of the occupied West Bank, where nearly three million Palestinians live, according to COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry body overseeing activities. civilians in the Palestinian territories.

A “particularly critical situation in Gaza”

More than 17,000 permits were issued the same year to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where 2.3 million people have lived under a blockade imposed by Israel since the Islamist movement Hamas came to power in 2007. , which contributed to the difficulties in supplying medicines.

“Report figures show near-blockade of Gaza has impact on mortality”assures Mr. Emblad, explaining that some patients die before obtaining their authorization. “The situation is particularly critical in Gaza, where the health system is less developed and where patients have difficulty obtaining medical exit permits on time”adds the World Bank.

The institution therefore urges Israel and the Palestinian authorities to better manage these cases and to make the authorization process more flexible for patients and their companions.

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The World with AFP

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