British Government’s Current Position: State of health services in Gaza

Question by Louise Haigh (Labour) on 23 February 2021 (UIN 157219)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assurances he has received that Israel will allow future covid-19 vaccines into the Gaza strip.

Answer from James Cleverly (Conservative) on 3rd March 2021

We welcome the steps that the parties have taken so far to coordinate responses to the COVID-19, including the arrival of the first shipment of vaccines from the Palestinian Authority into Gaza on 17 February, with the approval of Israel. We encourage further cooperation and dialogue in this regard. The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue of vaccines with the Israeli Authorities on 24 February, encouraging the Government of Israel to continue to facilitate the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority when required. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem are in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities respectively, and will continue to raise timely and appropriate access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 26th October 2020 (HL9594)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the breast cancer appeal by Medical Aid for Palestinians, what steps they are taking to support women in Gaza with breast cancer to get treatment.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 9th November 2020

We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli restrictions severely restrict the movement of medical professionals, patients and families from Gaza, hampering the provision of quality health services. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises the matter of medical permits, and the issue of movement and access, with the Israeli authorities. A lasting resolution to the situation is needed that will ensure that all those who are in need of medical attention and their families have unimpeded access to healthcare provisions.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 28 January 2019

Department for International Development: Gaza: Hospitals. HL13186

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that hospitals in Gaza have been closed due to power shortages; and what steps they are taking to ensure that hospitals are able to function.

A Answered by: Lord Bates (Conservative) on 11 February 2019

The UK continually monitors the humanitarian situation in Gaza and is ready to respond to spikes in humanitarian need. DFID is aware that hospitals in Gaza continue to face power shortages, although the most recent WHO report suggests that hospitals remain open for now.

To help ensure hospitals in Gaza can continue to provide essential services we provided £1.5 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) OPTs Appeal in 2018. This funding has helped treat patients in 11 hospitals which are under extreme pressure in Gaza by restocking vital medical supplies including surgical equipment, bandages and medicines, and helping provide physical rehabilitation services for around 4,000 people. We will keep our response under review.

Q Asked by Lord Hylton on 07 January 2019

Department for International Development: Gaza: Public Health. HL12583

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their most recent assessment of the impact on public health in Palestine of (1) the reduction in food aid provided by the World Food Programme, and (2) the level of availability of antibiotics and other medical supplies, water, power and fuel in Gaza.

A Answered by: Lord Bates (Conservative) on 21 January 2019

DFID continually assesses the humanitarian context in Gaza, including in the health sector, which remains under significant strain. Recent information from the World Food Programme states that cuts in its funding will affect 193,000 of the poorest people in Gaza and the West Bank as of January 2019. High food insecurity and poverty rates in Gaza contribute to the dire humanitarian situation. Although the recent increase in electricity supply has positively impacted health facilities, there is still a major shortage of essential drugs, including antibiotics and other medical supplies. Movement restrictions on patients seeking medical treatment outside Gaza and access to water also remain critical concerns.

DFID continues to provide assistance in the region, including providing food assistance to the most vulnerable refugees, supporting urgent health needs, preventing the spread of diseases, and improving access to safe water.

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