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19 Oct, 2014

Doctors of the World Help Restore Health Services Destroyed by Israel in Gaza

London, 3 October, 2014 | by Doctors of the World UK – The media agenda may have shifted away from this decimated strip of land since the most recent conflict ended here, but Doctors of the World has continued to help Gazans to rebuild their health system, and most importantly, themselves.

The 50-day-long Israeli military offensive launched on July 8, 2014 resulted in more than 2,000 casualties, displaced more than 100,000 people, and caused the widespread destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure. Many more Palestinians have been injured, and many others bear the signs of trauma left by the war. The health sector was also severely affected: 13 hospitals and 58 primary healthcare centres were damaged or destroyed.

Much work to do: a DOTW staff member assesses the damage to a children’s ward in Gaza. Photo by Sacha Petryszyn.

Through three mobile clinics, Doctors of the World provides primary healthcare, mental health services as well as health education to the most vulnerable Palestinians in some of the most devastated areas where health facilities have been shattered.

Since the beginning of this operation, more than 6,000 patients have received care. We are also planning to repair five clinics that were completely or partially demolished.

Working in collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Doctors of the World distributes vouchers worth 300 shekel (£50) to 600 families for the purchase of medical and hygiene items such as soap and nappies.

“We chose this approach because it adapted to the real needs of the population,” says Thibault Larose, Field Coordinator in Gaza City. “With these vouchers people are free to buy the items they really need. Their right to choose is not impacted, neither is their dignity.”

Doctors of the World also supports hospitals in Gaza, including the al-Shifa hospital. Here one of our surgeons has performed more than fifty surgical operations, and a second plastic surgeon is currently doing reconstructive surgery. Doctors of the World has also provided psychosocial support sessions for 173 medical staff working in emergency rooms, operating rooms and rescue teams.These sessions are designed to reinforce the capacity of local staff to support the local population.

Despite all our efforts to help Gazans after the most recent conflict, ultimately this destruction-reconstruction spiral in the Gaza Strip has to come to an end. Any reconstruction needs to be sustainable and permanent: Palestinians and the Palestinian healthcare system should be respected, not destroyed.

To donate specifically to our work in Gaza, donate to our Gaza appeal. For more updates on our work in Gaza sign-up to our e-Newsletter.