Press release issued by the Ministry of Health
Concerning cancer patients in the Gaza Strip with the severe shortage of medications and the closure of the crossings. The health sector is one of the most vital sectors of life in Gaza, that is affected by the blockade.

Since the Ministry of Health is the only provider of care for oncology patients in Gaza, it faces serious challenges in providing its services to cancer patients due to the lack of medicines, medical consumables, and required medical equipment.
The Ministry has endeavored in the past years during the Coronavirus pandemic, by making endless efforts with all parties to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients, but these efforts quickly collided with the restrictions of the siege and its consequences, which placed a heavy burden on patients, ending with their death either due to the lack of treatment services in Gaza hospitals or due to the unjustified restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on patient’s movement who need treatment across borders.

The Ministry of Health would like to clarify the following facts:
1. During the past five years, the number of newly diagnosed cases of various types of cancer reached 8,644 with a rate of 90 cases per 100,000 people, which means 1,800 new cases were being diagnosed each year.
2. Cancer patients suffer from a shortage of 60% of medications required to implement therapeutic protocols, which is a dangerous indicator of the chances of treating patients in the Gaza Strip.
3. Between 50 to 60% of cancer patients in the Gaza Strip need to travel for treatment in specialized centers outside the Gaza Strip to obtain radiotherapy, Pet scans, and chemotherapy which are not available in Gaza hospitals
4. The strict Israeli procedures and restrictions towards patients and their companions prevented about 60% of patients from reaching specialized hospitals outside Gaza.
5. Preventing these patients from traveling means that they die of treatable complications, as the Ministry of Health recorded more than 3000 deaths during the past five years.

In the light of these challenging facts, the Ministry of Health affirms the following:
1. We call on the international community to pressure the occupation authorities to lift their grip and restrictions on the patients’ movement and facilitate their access to specialized hospitals outside the Gaza Strip.
2. We call on all international and humanitarian bodies and institutions to advocate for the treatment rights of patients in the Gaza Strip, especially cancer patients, to alleviate their ongoing suffering.
3. We call on all concerned parties to intervene immediately to provide specialized medicines for cancer patients, and to enhance opportunities for their urgent treatment.