WHO: 54 patients died while awaiting Israeli security approval for referrals out of Gaza

JERUSALEM, A total of 54 Palestinian patients died while awaiting Israeli security approval for referrals out of Gaza in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in report published on Wednesday.

It said in its monthly report on Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip that approximately 85% of the patients who died while awaiting security permits had been referred for cancer investigations or treatment at hospitals outside the besieged Gaza Strip.

The WHO report said the year 2017 witnessed the lowest rate for approvals since 2008, when WHO began active monitoring of rate of approval of applications for Gaza patients seeking treatment outside the Gaza Strip.

It said that 54% of patient applications to exit Gaza via the Israeli Erez (Beit Hanoun) checkpoint in northern Gaza were successful in 2017.

There has been a continuous decline in approval rates since 2012, when approximately 93% of patient applications were successful, said WHO.

According to the report, 54 patients died while awaiting Israeli security approval for referrals out of Gaza.

In December, 48% of patients were unsuccessful in obtaining security permits from Israeli authorities, said the report. From 2,170 patient applications, 52.4% were approved; 2.6% denied; and 45% delayed, receiving no definitive response from Israeli authorities by the date of hospital appointment.

Three in five patient companions were unsuccessful in obtaining permits to travel out of Gaza. Out of 2,507 permit applications for patient companions submitted to Israeli authorities in December, 40.5% were approved, 3.6% were denied and 55.9% were delayed, still pending by the date of the patient’s hospital appointment.

Security interrogation of patients: 11 patients (7 males; 4 females) were requested for interrogation by Israeli General Security Services at Erez during December. Five were approved permits to travel for health care.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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