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The Devastating Health Impact of the Israel-Hamas Conflict in Gaza

Due to the continuous confrontation between Israel and Hamas, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pronounced a critical scenario in the Gaza Strip.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared a dire situation in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. 

In a special session convened by the UN health agency, Tedros described the health system as collapsing, putting immense pressure on medical professionals facing an “impossible” task.

Overcrowding and Deprivation Amplify Health Risks:

Tedros emphasized the catastrophic impact of the conflict, citing overcrowding as people are forced into smaller and smaller areas. 

The lack of essential resources such as food, water, shelter, and sanitation creates ideal conditions for spreading diseases. 

The situation is particularly alarming as signs of epidemic diseases emerge, with the risk expected to escalate amid deteriorating conditions and the approaching winter.

Gaza’s Health System in Critical Condition:

Highlighting the severity of the crisis, Tedros revealed that Gaza’s health system is on the brink of collapse. 

Out of 36 hospitals, only 14 are operational, with just two functioning in the northern part of the territory. 

With only 1,400 hospital beds available out of an original 3,500, major hospitals in southern Gaza operate at three times their bed capacity, running out of supplies and accommodating thousands of displaced people.

WHO Documents Alarming Attacks on Healthcare:

Since October 7, the WHO has verified over 449 attacks on healthcare in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, along with 60 attacks on healthcare in Israel. 

Tedros emphasized the impossible conditions faced by health workers, who are directly in the firing line. 

While not attributing blame, he underscored the critical role of health workers and the drastic increase in health needs coupled with a significant reduction in the health system’s capacity.

Appeal for Support Amid Unimaginable Conditions:

Tedros concluded his remarks by stressing the vital connection between health and peace. 

He highlighted the WHO’s on-the-ground efforts in Gaza, supporting physically and mentally exhausted health workers striving to provide care in unimaginable conditions. 

The urgent plea echoed the sentiment that there can be “no health without peace, and no peace without health” in the region.

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