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Jamila Sherif et al: The current state of healthcare in Gaza

13 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

State of healthcare in June 2014

Three weeks before the start of the current Israel–Gaza conflict, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza declared an emergency, saying that they were unable to maintain health services owing to a lack of sufficient electricity and necessary supplies. Elective operations had to be cancelled. Thirty per cent of essential medications were out of stock.[1]

Healthcare in Gaza has been under extreme pressure since 2007 because of the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel. This has resulted in significant difficulties in the sourcing of medical supplies, and in providing citizens with access to specialist care.[2] Three previous Israeli military operations in Gaza (2006, 2008-9, and 2012) had already caused considerable damage to the healthcare infrastructure.

In a report to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on the state of the Gaza health sector in June 2014, Gilbert [2] stated that: “The gravest threats to public health is the lack of basic determinants for healthy lives: safe water, food security, human security, housing, paid work, education, and, of course, also access to sufficient healthcare services.” more…

Sarah Woznick: A nurse’s account of working in Gaza

21 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

msf_gazaSarah Woznick is a specialist intensive care nurse working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/ Doctors Without Borders). She arrived in Gaza six months ago from Denver, Colorado. She was due to leave the mission the day after operation “Protective Edge” began, but decided to stay on to help provide medical care.

Image: Sarah in the intensive care unit of Nasser hospital, Gaza. Credit: MSF. 

I was scheduled to leave Gaza the day after the military operation “Protective Edge” started. That first day there were lots of air strikes in our area. It’s a strange feeling when you realise that one is falling not far from you. Now I am a little more accustomed, but it still makes me jump from time to time. All of us think about our Palestinian colleagues. The MSF compound is a safe place, but their homes might not be, and we worry about them and their families. more…

Tony Waterston and Jean Bowyer on doughnut rounds, children’s rights and house evictions

1 Mar, 10 | by BMJ Group

Tony Waterston Ten years after the inception of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health teaching programme in the occupied Palestinian territories, the third 2 year cycle is about to start. The purpose of the team’s visit was to offer an Education for Educators course for new tutors. This was a two day course covering educational principles and practice in large and small group teaching, from buzz groups to the doughnut round and including educational appraisal. more…

Ohad and Michal Oren: Cordon Sanitaire hospital; a humanitarian road map

13 Jul, 09 | by BMJ

Ohad Oren

Michal OrenThe corridors of the hospital were packed with worried expressions. Individuals were hysterically clarifying the status of their relatives following a vicious violent eruption between Arabs and Jews at the outskirts of an Israeli settlement. more…

Tony Waterston on reaching a common view on Israel and Palestine

26 Feb, 09 | by BMJ

Tony WaterstonAnyone writing a piece on either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories (the official UN title) will be exposed to a wealth comments from each side with often, little appearance of understanding the other’s perspective. This was my experience following a previous BMJ blog on 5th January. more…

Mark Clarfield on children in the crossfire

19 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

Mark Clarfield Two days ago a terrible tragedy occurred in Gaza and the day before that in Israel – both involving innocent children. In Gaza, an errant tank shell hit the building in which 55 year old gynecologist Ezeldeen Abu-alaish and his children where residing. Three of his daughters were killed outright and a number of others were wounded. While the army is still investigating, an initial probe indicates that Israeli soldiers returned fire from a source either in the building or nearby. In any case a terrible tragedy occurred. more…

Mark Clarfield on Israeli Arab patients in time of war

16 Jan, 09 | by BMJ

Mark ClarfieldSomeone less than familiar with Israel might wonder how during this crisis we handle Israeli Arab patients who walk around the hospital in a bright red kaffieh and use the helicopter pad as a place to pray. After all, we are in the midst of a war just a few miles from the hospital involving an Arab Islamist group bent not only the killing of Jews, but publicly and proudly sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. more…

Ohad Oren wants to preserve the beauty of medicine

12 Jan, 09 | by BMJ

Ohad OrenThe news item was embedded in the margin of the paper. “100 Years Ago – In Our Pages,” subtitled “1908: Fraud Beauty Doctor” would have attracted the attention of anyone at least minimally concerned about charlatans, quacks, or fakes in medicine. Originally published on November 6, 1908, the piece in the International Herald Tribune tells the story of Mrs Heath, a woman from London. more…

Mark Clarfield on a hospital under rocket fire

12 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

Mark Clarfield My hospital, the main institution serving southern Israel, has come under rocket fire since the very first day of the war. As a result, there have been far reaching changes in its functioning. Extra staff: doctors, nurses and orderlies have been added to the emergency room on every shift. All leave has been cancelled. more…

Mark Clarfield at the southern Israeli front

7 Jan, 09 | by BMJ Group

Mark Clarfield Despite all of the problems working as  a doctor in southern Israel during these trying times, life must go on. For example, I really had to get my car serviced today.  So despite all the pressure on me to get to work, on my way in I stopped at the Honda garage just a few blocks from the hospital. While signing in, I suddenly heard the eerie and very scary sound of the air raid sirens which go off (usually ) when there is an incoming missile. There really is nothing like it. It sounds like a nightmare but the only problem is you know you aren’t dreaming. more…

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