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Gaza struggles with shortage of medical supplies

As companies struggle to restart production of medicines in Gaza, Palestinians face a pharmaceutical crisis stemming from war, Palestinian political division, Israel's blockade and Egypt's closure of the Rafah crossing.
A Palestinian woman waits to receive medicine from a pharmacy at a hospital in Gaza City December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: HEALTH) - RTX16CAD

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — A severe shortage of medicine and medical supplies threatens the health of one-third of patients in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told Al-Monitor. “The shortage is at 32% for medicines and 38% for medical supplies, which is equivalent to 154 different types of medicines and 342 types of medical disposables,” said Qudra, warning of potential negative repercussions for Gazans' health should these shortages persist.

The blockade imposed on Gaza after Hamas took control of the territory in 2007 is preventing local factories from getting the necessary raw materials for medicines in addition to spare parts for equipment damaged by war and years of deterioration. Qudra told Al-Monitor, “The siege that has been ongoing for eight consecutive years has hampered companies’ ability to import medicines through the Israeli crossings, which led to a shortage in medicines and medical supplies, undermining the health [sector] in the Gaza Strip.”

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