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State of Cancer Patients in Gaza on the World Cancer Day

 

Issues facing cancer patients from Gaza:

Cancer patients in Gaza had limited access to cancer treatments and care as most cancer treatments are not available inside of Gaza. Most of the patients staying in Gaza (About 20%) received treatments in the Turkish Hospital and at the Ahli Hospital, whom are our partners. The larger portion of cancer patients were usually sent for treatment into the occupied territories through medical transfers from the Palestinian Authority, mainly into the Augusta Victoria Hospital or other hospitals.

 

The patients sent for treatment in the occupied territories also face many difficulties. Patients who receive a medical transfer from the Palestinian Authority are allowed only one companion to enter with them. These patients, many times, lack financial and emotional support, and are sometimes alone in the hospitals in the occupied territories facing a different environment and different language. Alternatively, many patients do not receive medical transfer at all, and face the financial burden of cancer treatments alone, having no medical insurance or support.

 

The issue above is even worse when we talk about children. Children with cancer are sometimes sent to treatment with one companion who is a stranger to the child, having his parents’ denied entry. Children with cancer from Gaza are forced to face cancer on their own without their family around them, in a different environment and with no emotional support.


Mariam Foundation has created many projects to support cancer patients from Gaza, to alleviate the burdens of fighting cancer and offer daily companions for children with cancer. Also, Mariam Foundation work with its partners in Gaza, the Ahli Hospital and the Turkish Hospital to introduce better care and treatments for cancer and work on raising awareness for cancer among the society.


Worsening conditions of cancer patients after October 7th war:

The current war has worsened the situation of cancer patients in many ways. Mariam Foundation has launched its Gaza Relief fund to tackle as much as possible the new reality of cancer patients in Gaza, West Bank, and in the occupied territories:

 

Cancer patients in Gaza:

Currently, our teams indicate having 10,000 adult cancer patients in Gaza, adding to them 750 children with cancer. These patients have been left with no medical care or treatments now for over 3 months, and many of whom will die if they do not receive their medications on time.

As of today, Gazan medical facilities who are trying to give service to cancer patients are:

1)      Abu Yousef Al Najar Hospital in Rafah

2)      Naser Hospital in Khan Younis

3)      Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the center of Gaza - Went out of service but still houses patients.

These hospitals also are facing the imminent danger of going out of service, leaving the Abu Yousef Al Najar Hospital unequipped to house and service cancer patients.

The main hospital who gave treatments and whole service to cancer patients, The Turkish Hospital, went out of service on November 1st after running out of fuel, and patients were evacuated to Dar Al Salam Hospital in Khan Younis. Under current situation, it is crucial to rehabilitee the ability of the Turkish Hospital to service cancer patients, and it is imperative to absorb cancer patients for treatment outside of Gaza.

Cancer patients who are still in Gaza city and in the North of Gaza have no medical services available at all.

As of today, our teams indicate the complete lack of cancer treatments, whether hormonotherapy, immunotherapy, and even the lack of infrastructure to produce chemotherapy. Apart from that, there is a complete lack of labs for tissue analysis or tumor diagnosis.

 Currently, cancer patients are staying in medical facilities or hospitals that are not equipped or ready to house cancer patients.

Since the onset of the war, over 2500 applications for treatment outside of Gaza were submitted for cancer patients, only 350 of them were successful. Applications are processed in Egypt. Those who exited for treatment face an immense struggle on their way. Most of the time, a patient knows he was selected to go for treatment outside of Gaza on the same day or on the night before their designated exit date.

 


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