Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hamas-Fatah Rift Leaves Gaza Patients Stranded

IRIN April 9, 2009 - The rift between the two main Palestinian movements - Fatah which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas which controls Gaza - has impeded the availability of health care in Gaza, say officials.

“The health ministry in Ramallah [West Bank] has refused contact with the health ministry in Gaza since Hamas took control in June 2007,” said Gaza health ministry spokesperson Hamam Nasman: “Only 24 percent of the medicine and medical supplies allotted to Gaza under the 2008 PA budget were received.”

All referrals abroad for medical patients in Gaza were halted after Hamas took control of the PA’s Referral Abroad Department in Gaza on 22 March, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As a result, thousands of patients with serious and complicated conditions have been affected, said sources in the Gaza health ministry....

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Max Gaylord and the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a joint statement on 30 March expressing serious concern, while the WHO in Gaza has been mediating between the Gaza and Ramallah health ministries to resolve the crisis....

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