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25 May, 2013

WHO: Gaza Patients Await Treatment Permits After Israeli “Security Interviews”


JERUSALEM, May 23, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli permit approval rate for Gaza patients during April reached 83%, the lowest since January 2011, reflecting a dramatic increase in delays in responding to applications, said the World Health Organization (WHO) in its monthly report on referral of patients from the Gaza Strip for medical treatment abroad published Wednesday.

However, it added, no permit denials were issued in April for the first time in the last five years.

The low approval rate was due to delays in response to permit applications causing the patients to miss their hospital appointments. At total of 198 patients, or 17%, including 78 females and 120 males, did not receive a response.

The report said that 17 patients – five females and 12 males – who had applied for permits to cross Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint between Gaza and Israel were requested to appear for Israeli security interviews.

A total of 1,463 patients from Gaza were referred by the Ministry of Health in April, a 12.8% increase over the monthly average in 2013 of 1297, and also higher than averages in 2011 and 2012 with almost a third referred to hospitals in East Jerusalem and one fifth to hospitals in Israel, an increase by 39% over the monthly average in 2013.

The report said that for the past two months there has been a significant decline in the permit approval rate and an increase in delayed responses. The average approval rate from January 2012 – February 2013 was 93% and delayed was 6.65%.