WHO: Woman, 70, among 4 cancer patients denied Israel’s permit to leave Gaza for treatment

Apr 26,2021

Residents of the besieged Gaza Strip must travel to West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel or abroad in order to receive proper treatment for many serious illnesses.

A 70-year-old woman was among four cancer patients from besieged Gaza denied an Israeli permit to travel for medical treatment in East Jerusalem, West Bank or Israeli hospitals, World Health Organization’s (WHO) revealed on Sunday.

It said six patients, four males and two females, or 0.5 per cent of the total applications were denied permits to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez to reach healthcare in March.

Those denied included a female cancer patient aged 70 years. Three had appointments for cancer care (oncology), one for ophthalmology, one for cardiology, and one for urology. Three had appointments at hospitals in the West Bank and three in East Jerusalem.

Israel approved 853 –male: 427 and female: 426– or 66 per cent of the 1,293 patient applications to cross Beit Hanoun/Erez in March for medical treatment, 9 per cent less than the average approval rate of the previous two months (75 per cent) and 2 per cent less than the average approval rate for 2020 (68%), said WHO.

Of the delayed applications, 21 per cent were for children under the age of 18; 65 per cent for patients aged 18-60 years and 14 per cent for patients over 60 years of age.

Close to two-fifths (38 per cent) of those delayed had appointments for oncology; 18 per cent for ophthalmology; 7 per cent for hematology; 6 per cent for orthopedics; 6 per cent for cardiology, and 5 per cent for pediatrics. The remaining 20 per cent were for 15 other specialties.

In March, six (5 male; 1 female) patients between the age of 18 to 60 were requested for security interrogation by the Israeli security services as a prerequisite to processing their permit applications.

Two patients had appointments for oncology, two for cardiology, one for orthopedics and one for internal medicine. Four of them had appointments in East Jerusalem hospitals and two in the West Bank.

By the end of March, one was denied and five remained under further examination.

The Health Liaison Office in the Gaza Strip submitted 1,514 companion permit applications to Israeli authorities to accompany patients in March.

These applications included parents or other companions applying to accompany children. Patients are eligible to apply to Israeli authorities for one companion to accompany them for health care outside Gaza.

In March, 637 companion permit applications –42 per cent of the total– were approved, 13 applications were denied and the remaining 864 were delayed, receiving no definitive response by the time of the patient’s appointment.

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