As the need for medical care in Gaza soars, accessing working hospitals and health centres is becoming more and more difficult. Alternative solutions such as evacuating patients overseas and setting up field hospitals are under way, but may offer little hope if there is no end to fighting in the Palestinian enclave, experts say.
One month after the October 7 Hamas attack prompted Israel to launch extensive air strikes on the Gaza Strip, 14 out of 35 hospitals with inpatient services are no longer operating in the Palestinian enclave and 71% of primary care facilities have closed, according to figures from the UN.
Even in medical centres that are still functioning, the situation is dire. “Hospitals are swamped … In the past few weeks all of the hospitals in the north have not received any supplies at all,” said Michel-Olivier Lacharité, the manager of emergency programmes for Doctors without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières or MSF), at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.
Reports have emerged of doctors being forced to perform surgical procedures without access to anaesthesia and in increasingly unsanitary conditions due to limited access to clean water and medical supplies.
Successful evacuations also depend on patients being well enough to make the dangerous and complicated journey.
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