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Gaza's Hospital Crisis Persists While Spread of Diseases Continues

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The combination of cramped hospitals and poor sanitation are working cyclically in fuelling the spread of diseases in the remaining health facilities in Gaza. Specifically in crowded hostpitals, what was once a place for check-ups and surgeries have now transformed into a space for shelter for an extremely vulnerable population seeking refuge, as revealed in photographs shared with the BBC.


The images highlight the cramped conditions that individuals are now calling their home within the hospitals, with tents spread across the hospital floors in Rafah. Combine this with a lack of sanitation, prevalent diseases such as scabies, lice and influenza are rife. With a lack of even the most basic facilities, doctors and nurses are unable to treat the impaired. 


“Because of the shortage of painkillers we leave patients to scream for hours and hours,” one of Gaza’s doctors explained in an interview with the BBC. The constant air strikes coupled with a lack of supplies are catalysing and contributing to the spread of disease, depleting what is an already scarce healthcare system. 


The World Health Organisation has expressed deep concern for the situation, describing the conditions as “Beyond words.” This comes after a report made by the organisation of a seven-year-old female at a hospital in Gaza with 76% burn coverage that was not able to receive pain relief due to the supply shortages. With open wounds remaining untreated, individuals have two very sobering realities, endure the wounds, or face death.


Despite growing numbers of international staff and volunteers at the hospitals, Dr al-Akkad says that it is simply not enough to cope with the plethora of injuries, patients, and infections that they are receiving. Following bombings, staff work tirelessly to aid the individuals that have been injured, without adequate tools and no pain relief to help the population.


Amidst these conditions, individuals are doing the best that they can to make the hospitals feel like home. Sami Abu Omar is just one of these people, preparing lentil soup for displaced families to make them feel like home. He says that this reminds people of the times when their mothers would make lentil soup when it was raining outside. Yet, more often than not, most people are unable to get hold of any food resources and have to go days before they are able to eat again.


However, despite a reminder of home, this harsh reality still persists for everyone. Limited access to food resources has become a critical issue, leaving the majority of people starving. Compounded with the challenges faced by those seeking refuge, these conditions are making their already difficult circumstances increasingly more arduous. 


The dire situation in Gaza reflects not only the immediate impact of conflicts on civilians but also the long-term consequences on the mental-health of healthcare professionals and their patients. Urgent international attention and assistance for a ceasefire are crucial to address the escalating health crises, to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable population caught in the midst of the ongoing conflict.



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