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WHO statement by the Director-General on the health situation in Gaza

Statement
22 January 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the health situation in and around Gaza and the suffering this has caused for civilian populations in the area.

In Gaza, the lack of electrical power, arising from a fuel shortage, and restrictions on the movement of people and goods, including medicines, jeopardize the continuity of basic health care and curtail access to specialist care outside Gaza.

Frequent electricity cuts and the limited power available to run hospital generators are of particular concern, as they disrupt the functioning of intensive care units, operating theatres, and emergency rooms. In the central pharmacy, power shortages have interrupted refrigeration of perishable medical supplies, including vaccines. WHO consignments of essential medicines and consumables have recently been delayed at the border.

WHO welcomes the easing of movement of some fuel and supplies today. However, WHO calls for additional measures to ensure no further disruptions. WHO further calls for restoration of electricity to health facilities, lifting of restrictions on the movement of medicines and essential commodities to Gaza, and for patients to have access to health care outside Gaza.

For more information, please contact:

Christine McNab
Acting Director, Communications Department
WHO, Geneva
Tel.: + 41 22 791 46 88
Mobile: + 41 79 254 68 15
E-mail: mcnabc@who.int

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