Abdelnaser Soboh, Emergency Health Lead in the World Health Organization's Gaza sub-office, stands next to boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait, in Gaza City
Boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait in Gaza City
Photo: Reuters
Boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait in Gaza City

Gaza gets vital medical aid as hospitals struggle with rising infections

Donation of intensive care devices, funded by Kuwait, comes a week after local and international public health officials said hospitals in the Palestinian enclave could soon be overwhelmed by influx of COVID-19 patients

Reuters |
Published: 11.29.20 , 18:38
The World Health Organization delivered 15 ventilators to Gaza hospitals on Sunday amid a spike in COVID-19 infections that has tested the Palestinian territory's under-developed health system.
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  • The donation of the intensive care devices, funded by Kuwait, came a week after local and international public health advisers said hospitals in the enclave could soon become overwhelmed.
    Abdelnaser Soboh, Emergency Health Lead in the World Health Organization's Gaza sub-office, stands next to boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait, in Gaza City Abdelnaser Soboh, Emergency Health Lead in the World Health Organization's Gaza sub-office, stands next to boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait, in Gaza City
    Boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait in Gaza City
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "These devices will help medical teams provide better service to patients, but it is not enough," said Abdullatif Alhaj of Gaza's health ministry.
    Alhaj said hospitals had suffered acute shortages in oxygen essential in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
    Gaza has logged nearly 20,000 coronavirus cases and 97 deaths, mostly since August, amid concern of a wider outbreak in the densely populated enclave of 2 million people, many of whom live in poverty.
    Palestinian doctors treat patients at the emergency room of the al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City Palestinian doctors treat patients at the emergency room of the al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City
    Palestinian doctors treat patients at the emergency room of the al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City
    (Photo: AP)
    The Gaza Health Ministry said 342 COVID-19 patients, of whom 108 are in critical condition, are being treated in the territory's hospitals, which have been able to expand their intensive care units to 150 beds over the past week.
    It said more than half of the territory's 150 ventilators are in use.
    "The health system right now can hold on for a few weeks after the expansion of beds," said Abdelnaser Soboh, emergency health lead in the World Health Organization's Gaza sub-office.
    A worker unloads boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait, in Gaza City A worker unloads boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait, in Gaza City
    A worker unloads boxes containing ventilators delivered by the World Health Organization (WHO) and donated by Kuwait, in Gaza City
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Soboh said Gaza is also experiencing severe shortages of medications and disposable equipment needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
    Palestinians in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza say 13 years of economic sanctions by Israel and Egypt and their border blockade have crippled their economy and undermined the development of medical facilities, weakening their ability to tackle a pandemic.
    Israel, which cites security concerns for the border restrictions it imposes, says it has not limited the transfer of medical supplies to Gaza to fight the pandemic.
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