The Gaza Strip is one of the most troubled and disadvantaged areas in the world. Public services are on the verge of collapse and the small team who work at our Clinic there are operating in what is really an emergency situation.
If you would like to donate funds specifically to help in this most unsettled enclave, please do contribute to our on-going Gazan fundraising appeal.
Since Hamas came to power in Gaza in June 2007, Israel and Egypt have imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, which international aid agencies agree is particularly harsh on ordinary people. Since the blockade, Gaza’s 1.7m people have been relying on less than a quarter of the imported supplies that they would ordinarily require. Only basic humanitarian supplies are allowed into the Strip and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reports an extraordinary list of basic items that have been refused entry, including light bulbs, candles, matches, books, clothing, shoes, mattresses, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, chocolate, shampoo and conditioner. Crucially for reconstruction, building materials such as cement, concrete and wood are nearly always refused.
Lack of fuel means that the Gaza power plant runs only sporadically, and at far less than full capacity. Most Gazans suffer power cuts of four to six hours daily. This is barely enough to keep refrigerated food from spoiling. Small generators are everywhere, causing much noise and polluting the air. Lack of clean water is a major health issue. Aid agencies say that diarrhoea kills many young children and they have linked contaminated ground water to congenital heart defects in new-born babies. The sea around Gaza is heavily polluted with 60 million litres of raw and partially treated sewage being pumped into it every day.
These conditions, coupled with violence and dislocation, have caused a dramatic increase in what doctors call psycho-social disorders. For children, who are especially hard-hit, this means bedwetting, nightmares, depression and aggressive behaviour.
Exacerbated by the on-going conflict in the area, the existing rate of blindness remains high (ten times higher than in the West). The blockade continues to prevent ordinary Gazan residents from accessing the care that is required to maintain their health, as well as from meeting those from outside. In turn, the rate of consanguineous, or intrafamilial, marriages is still rising and more children are being born with congenital diseases, including cataracts and eye malformations.
At our Clinic in Gaza, expansion is desperately required.
The blockademakes it very difficult for the Clinic to obtain essential medical supplies and equipment. It is often necessary to postpone or cancel treatment, with deleterious consequences for the patients.
In spite of the huge problems they face, the staff at our Gaza Clinic work hard to save the sight of local people. The number of patients coming to the Clinic – and the resulting operations – is increasing and in 2012, we saw and treated 24,369 patients in Gaza-3,667 under the age of 18.
Kind supporters of our work in Gaza include:
- The Main Hospital
- Gaza Clinic
- Hebron Hospital
- Anabta Centre
- Mobile Outreach
- Training and Teaching
- Research at the Eye Hospital
- History of the Order of St John
- St John Worldwide
- Hospital Board
- Hospital Group Directors Committee
- Jerusalem Fundraising Office
- London Fundraising and Marketing Office
- Staff Vacancies