Video: Slow death for Gaza cancer patients

Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip makes it difficult, if not impossible, for cancer patients to receive treatment.

Over the last decade, Israel has controlled and restricted shipments of medicine, among other basic necessities, into Gaza. This often causes severe drug shortages in Gaza hospitals.

“I come to the hospital to receive treatment and I am surprised that there is no treatment,” Sabreen al-Najjar, 40, told The Electronic Intifada.

Al-Najjar is one of many cancer patients in Gaza turned away by hospitals due to severe drug shortages.

“It is unbelievable. They sentence us to death. A slow death,” she added.

With the unreliable availability of medications, many patients try to receive treatment outside Gaza.

Gaza’s health ministry reported that 39 percent of essential drugs at the central drug store were at less than a month’s supply in November, and 57 percent of essential primary healthcare drugs were at zero stock levels, according to the World Health Organization.

Al-Rantisi hospital in Gaza, “which provides oncology services, reported that 75 percent (45 out of 60) of their chemotherapy drug items had reached ‘zero stock’ levels” as well, Medical Aid for Palestinians stated in August.

Israel denies many of those patients the permits necessary for them to leave the enclave and receive treatment in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or within Israel.

More than 1,800 patients were denied permission to cross Erez checkpoint for healthcare in 2018, according to the World Health Organization, compared to approximately 700 denied in 2017.

Video by Akram al-Wa’ra and Nidal al-Waheidi.