A video released earlier showed an Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza going completely without power after running out of fuel and a generator failing, and showing medical teams relying on mobile phone lighting to provide care to the sick and wounded. This comes as the occupying Power insists on preventing the entry of fuel into Gaza, citing claims that Hamas uses the fuel to meet its operational needs.
Although limited amounts of medical supplies have arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing in recent days, occupying forces have blocked their distribution in northern Gaza, where most of the Strip’s hospitals are located. In addition, the occupying forces issued a statement calling for the evacuation of more than 20 hospitals in central and northern Gaza, while the World Health Organization confirmed through its official account on its “X” platform (formerly Twitter) that it was impossible to evacuate without endangering the lives of patients These hospitals, but also the four Ministry of Health hospitals in the south, are already exceeding their capacity.
Meanwhile, Dr. Medhat Abbas, director-general of the Gaza Ministry of Health, noted that operating rooms, emergency rooms and intensive care units are affected by a lack of fuel and medical supplies. Abbas added: “Due to the intense pressure, many surgeries began to be performed in hospital corridors without anesthesia and using vinegar instead of medical disinfectants.”
Lack of medical disinfectants
Medical opinions vary on the use of vinegar in surgery. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers vinegar not to be a disinfectant. Although vinegar contains a certain proportion of acetic acid (about 5%), its effectiveness against bacteria and viruses is limited. And vinegar targets bacteria that cause common foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli.
While one study by researchers at Middlesex University in London showed vinegar to be effective against Candida and Staphylococcus aureus, no studies have confirmed vinegar’s effectiveness against other types of staphylococci, such as Staphylococcus epidermidis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), there is also no strong evidence of vinegar’s effectiveness against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are known to be responsible for, inter alia, most wound and burn infections as well as sepsis, a leading cause of death around the world one of the reasons.
Sepsis is the body’s imbalanced response to infection, causing damaging changes to the body’s organs, leading to “septic shock.” According to the World Health Organization, sepsis caused 11 million deaths in 2017, accounting for approximately 20% of deaths that year. The WHO confirms that those who have recovered from the disease are not far from danger, as only half of those infected will fully recover, while the remainder will die within a year or suffer long-term disabilities. Reports show that 85% of sepsis cases and related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The Gaza Strip has repeatedly encountered this serious problem. A descriptive study conducted in October 2006 by staff at the Nasser Hospital in the Gaza Strip showed that the prevalence of neonatal sepsis was as high as 50%, and that the most at-risk age group were children less than 8 days old, with a mortality rate of 20% . It is worth noting that this research is partly consistent with the occupation forces’ aggression against the Gaza Strip during the so-called Operation Autumn Cloud, which was responsible for the capture of soldier Gilad Shalit. In response, the operation lasted less than 10 days and did not result in the severe shortage of medical supplies we are currently witnessing since the “Aqsa Floods” began.
In a similar context, a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine showed that one-third of deaths in Iraq during the 2003-2011 war and the US occupation were due to the collapse of the health system caused, which resulted in the deaths of 500,000 people.
The plight of 50,000 women in Gaza
Dr. Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, believes that Gaza’s health system has always faced many challenges. Despite this, Gaza’s medical staff remain incredibly resilient and dedicated. Paul · Spiegel added that years of permanent blockade and repeated aggression against the Gaza Strip have had a negative impact, as human resource gaps remain, especially in specialized areas such as oncology, where Palestinians need to leave Gaza to receive treatment, Compared with other countries in the region, life expectancy has declined, infant mortality has increased, acute and chronic malnutrition in children has worsened, the spread of chronic diseases has increased, especially diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as well as child and adult mental health problems. Increase.
The United Nations Population Fund quoted testimonies from Gaza’s Shifa hospital staff as saying that due to a lack of medical supplies and fuel, emergency caesarean sections are currently being performed without anesthesia, which often results in maternal death after delivery. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza currently lack access to basic health services. Rick Brennan, director of the WHO regional emergencies program, said that about 200 women give birth in Gaza every day. It is difficult for them to find a safe place to give birth, and more than half of them are expected to develop complications and face death. Risk of not getting the care you need.
The risks of a lack of medical care during pregnancy are many, as it can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, although the latter usually does not show any symptoms other than a feeling of thirst, sweating and frequent urination Additionally, it can be controlled with proper medical care and usually goes away soon after birth, but neglect or lack of treatment of the infection can lead to serious complications, such as a baby with a higher than normal birth weight. It can cause the baby to die or become trapped in the birth canal (dystocia) and require a caesarean section, and it can increase the child’s likelihood of developing diabetes in the future.
Another danger faced by pregnant women in Gaza is the lack of food and medical supplies, especially folic acid (vitamin B9). Folic acid is considered one of the necessary nutritional supplements for pregnant women during pregnancy. A lack of folic acid can lead to brain and spinal birth defects in the fetus. Increases the risk of miscarriage and reduces the child’s cognitive abilities. It is generally recommended that women planning pregnancy take at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
Chickenpox and cholera top epidemic list
The health crisis in the Gaza Strip continues. Turkey’s Friendship Hospital was forced to partially operate and then completely cease operations after a power outage. This hospital is the only hospital in Gaza that treats cancer cases, threatening 2,000 cancer patients in the Gaza Strip and about 120 lives of premature babies and 1,000 patients requiring regular dialysis, not to mention the problems of insulin deficiency and necessary heart medications.
Omar Abdul Manan, a neurologist and member of the Western support group, said doctors are reusing gloves and surgical equipment, infectious diseases such as chickenpox are already beginning to spread, and it is only a matter of time before we see the spread of cholera and typhoid. Chickenpox is a viral illness with a rash, and symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue, but without the necessary care, complications of the disease can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia, brain swelling, and toxic shock , and reusing surgical instruments increases the risk of infection with blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. The Palestinian Ministry of Health has made significant efforts to reduce both diseases over the past few decades. A report released by the Palestinian News Agency in 2020 stated that the number of type B cases infected with these two viruses in Palestine reached 380, and the number of type C cases reached 76.
Most concerning appears to be the spread of the cholera epidemic among Gaza’s population, with the deterioration of the health system coinciding with the collapse of water and sanitation services. The World Health Organization mentions that cholera is a bacterium that causes acute diarrhea, leading to severe diarrhea and dehydration, during which the body loses 10% or more of its body weight. It spreads rapidly through contaminated water. If not treated properly, Death may occur within hours of onset of symptoms.