Press release

29 July 2019


MOH-Gaza, Patients with hemophilia and thalassemia are among the most affected by the medication shortage crisis resulting from the imposed besiege on Gaza Strip. The following is their tragic reality:

First: Thalassemia patients:

  1. The total number of Thalassemia patients in the Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip) is 866, of whom 309 are in the Gaza Strip; 170 of them are males and 139 are females. The impact can range from mild to severe and life-threatening, where patients depend on blood transfusion to survive. These cases are distributed as the following:  Shifa Medical Hospital (156) adult cases, Rantisi Children’s Hospital (56) cases and European Hospital (97) cases of adults and children.

  1. The most significant complication resulting from a blood transfusion is an accumulation of iron. If there is too much iron, the body will try to absorb more iron to compensate. Excessive iron can harm the spleen, heart, and liver, sometimes it may lead to death.

  1. Some of the patients, and as a result of the continuous rise of the iron level more than 20.000 (normal to be less than 2000), suffer from diabetes and are therefore dependent on insulin and some are negatively affected by delayed growth.

  1. Iron chelation drugs includes desiferal, that is injected intravenously or subcutaneously with the pump, oral exjade, and oral deferasirox.

Second: Hemophilia patients:

  1. The number of hemophilia patients (A & B) in the Gaza Strip is 125 cases. Hemophilia is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective factor VIII & factor IX, a clotting protein that lasts with the patient for life.

  • Hemophilia A, also called factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency or classic hemophilia. (104 cases(.

  • Hemophilia B also called factor IX (FIX) deficiency or Christmas disease. (21 case).

These cases are distributed at Shifa Medical Hospital 51 cases (adults) and Rantisi Children’s Hospital (29) cases. The European Hospital has (45) cases (adults and children).

  1. These patients cannot survive unless alternative medicine is available in case of joint injury, tooth extraction or gastrointestinal bleeding.

  1. Some patients lost mobility and suffered permanent disability in walking due to the lack of proper medication. These drugs are not sold in local pharmacies because it is too expensive (the drug costs 1300 NIS).
  2. The most important complications for these patients is the lack of medicines for, motor disability in schools, universities, and employment, restricting of movement for children, psychological and social impact, failure of proper dental care, inability to change and transplant joints. There is no alternative medicine.

In light of these serious conditions which are expected to exacerbate, we renew our call to all concerned parties and humanitarian institutions to take immediate and effective measures  to save the lives of those patients.

Ministry of Health

July 29, 2019