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Israeli blockade of Gaza threatens the lives of cancer patients

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Ramallah, Jul 21 (Prensa Latina) The lack of medicines caused by Israel’s blockade threatens the lives of over 9,000 cancer patients in the Gaza Strip, the health authorities denounced.

The spokesman for Gaza’s health care, Ashraf al-Qidra, told reporters that Israel prevents the entry of more than 40 percent of the drugs used in treatments for people suffering from cancer. The continued blockade after 17 years of occupation is aimed at undermining humanitarian services, the official said.

The general director of the Gaza Cancer Center, Subhi Skaik, said there is a serious shortage of medicines, and there are difficulties in providing treatment to the ill, and called on the international community to urgently help to save the lives of patients in Gaza, where more than two million Palestinians live.

Ashraf Abu Mahadi, a health official, explained that 45 percent of the medicines needed for cancer patients were not available for the past six months, and noted that the health system in the Gaza Strip is under great pressure due to a lack of medicines.

Earlier this year, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) warned about the collapse of the health system in the Strip as a result of the blockade, and denounced that Israel prevents many patients from leaving the enclave to receive medical care. “Instead of facilitating their departure (…) the Israeli authorities obstruct that possibility through various instructions and arbitrary procedures, thus condemning them to suffer from diseases to the point of death,” it stated.

According to data from the World Health Organization, more than 15,400 people from the Gaza Strip submitted requests for treatment in 2021, but only 2,165 were authorized, 14 percent of the total.

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