PCHR: Abbas Must Save Lives Of Leukemia Sufferers In Gaza

Press Release – Palestinian Centre For Human Rights

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over the lives of 36 patients, who suffer from Leukemia in the Gaza Strip, due to not receiving the necessary treatment they need for 8 months. PCHR is concerned these patients may have serious complications leading to death if they do not receive their treatment immediately. PCHR calls upon President Mahmoud Abbass to promptly intervene to save the lives of these patients and to instruct the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to supply the medicine needed for these patients as soon as possible.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, the suffering of the patients of Leukemia, which is a serious cancerous disease that affects blood cells, started in December 2012 when the medicine (Glivec 400 mg tab) fully ran out in the blood section pharmacy at Shifa Hospital. As a result, the patients have not received their medical treatment since then. Doctors in charge stated that this medicine is the sole treatment for Leukemia patients and not receiving this treatment would cause complications and put the patients’ lives at risk. It should be noted that the medicine is only available through the Ministry of Health in Ramallah and cannot be found in medical warehouses or private pharmacies in the Gaza Strip to save the patients’ lives. 

As part of PCHR’s follow-up of the patients’ conditions, PCHR’s Legal Aid Unit addressed the Ministry of Health in Ramallah on 16 April 2013 and explained the conditions of Leukemia patients in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the unit called upon the Minister of Health to urge the competent bodies to immediately send the medicine to the Gaza Strip patients. On 30 April 2013, the Pharmacy Department at the Ministry of Health in Ramallah responded that the medicine is available at the central wheelhouses in Ramallah and that coordination was being done to send it to the patients. However, the quantity of (Glivec 400 mg tab) that reached the pharmacy in June and for once was very limited. The quantity amounted to 210 tablets that can help treating 7 patients only for one month. However, patients in the Gaza Strip need approximately 1,600 tablets a month. Consequently, the Leukemia patients have been deprived of that medicine, which is the sole treatment for them, and not receiving it would cause serious health complications.

PCHR is strongly concerned over the lives of these patients and calls upon President Abbass to immediately intervene and instruct the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to promptly and regularly send this medicine to the patients.

ENDS

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