'As Qatar delivered $20 million in cash to aid impoverished families in Gaza on Sunday, a shortage of essential medicines threatens the lives of patients in the occupied territory.
Gaza’s health ministry has less than a month’s supply of more than half of the medicines in its stocks, spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra stated on Sunday.
The depleted stocks include therapeutic milk for infants, as well as medicines for patients with cancer, kidney failure, diabetes and hypertension.
Some 8,000 cancer patients are affected, according to the health ministry, as well as nearly 1,200 patients who receive dialysis – among them 39 children.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights called on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank “to shoulder its responsibilities and urgently intervene to ensure the supply of medicines and medical disposables” to Gaza health facilities.
The medicine crisis is just the latest setback for Gaza’s long-suffering healthcare system, which the United Nations warned earlier this year was on the “brink of collapse.”
Thousands of elective surgeries at Gaza hospitals were postponed over the past year as Israel used massive amounts of live ammunition and other weapons against protesters in the territory, killing 200 and injuring 28,000 more.
Chronic electricity shortages in Gaza, which has been under Israeli-enforced land, sea and air blockade for 12 years, has come close to seeing hospitals shut down altogether.
Israeli restrictions on the entry of medical supplies and equipment into Gaza has left hospitals “severely hindered in providing care,” according to Al Mezan, a human rights group in the territory.
The siege has all but destroyed Gaza’s economy, causing unemployment and poverty to skyrocket.'
Read more: Gaza unemployment soars as medicine stocks hit zero
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