What Do Health Services Look Like in Palestine?
Palestine is a region in the Middle East made up of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. These two Palestinian territories were seized by Israel in 1967 and nearly all access into or out of the territories has been controlled by Israel ever since. The relationship between Israel and Palestine often turns violent, with the latest conflict taking place in May of 2021. But, tensions are always high and can quickly lead to fighting, bombing, and large-scale death.
That’s especially problematic for the territories of Gaza and the West Bank, whose limited access to things like food, water, electricity, and medical services has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. Because of this restricted access, there are few health facilities for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. When Palestinians do get care, it often isn’t of the highest quality, but they usually do not have any other options.
One of the most crucial types of health services needed in Palestine is emergency health services. This is because most Palestinians live in poverty and the limited access to regular health services means they only seek care when they really need it.
It’s also on account of the violence between Israel and Palestine, which can lead to severe injuries, amputations, life-threatening health issues, and even death. In Palestine, emergency rooms are often unprepared to care for the severity of these medical needs and the number of individuals needing immediate care.
While Israel has a universal healthcare system that provides health services to all of its citizens, Palestine’s healthcare system struggles to provide the care all of its citizens need. There is a Palestine Ministry of Health, but the limited access into the territories limits the ability to build medical facilities, get trained medical staff, and provide the necessary care for all Palestinian citizens.
The Palestine Health Ministry also doesn’t present a centralized option for both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as the Hamas government has its own alternative Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. All of this illustrates the stark disparity between Israel and Palestine healthcare.
Many health services in Palestine are provided by nonprofit organizations and other agencies that provide humanitarian relief. The World Health Organization has even started the Palestinian National Institute of Public Health—a project focused on building a better health system in Palestine.
In response to the limited access to healthcare in the places it is needed most, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) continues to provide medical and humanitarian care for children and their families through our hospitals, pediatric medical programs, hospital infrastructure projects, and medical missions. These efforts help to ensure that children in need get the vital medical care they require.
Specifically, we’ve created a Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Program in Gaza as well as the Gaza Amputee Project. These initiatives help provide cardiac surgery and treatment for Palestinian children, as well as surgery and prostheses for child amputees. Our humanitarian work has never been more important in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
PCRF is not a political or religious organization. Our mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, politics, or religion. We rely on charitable giving to provide medical treatment, surgeries, safety, shelter, and support to children and their families suffering from health conditions. Find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in children’s lives today!