Cancer patients in Gaza suffer challenges that worsen their conditions as Israel prevents access to medicine and healthcare services, says Palestine's health ministry.
The Palestinian Health Ministry has accused Israel of denying cancer patients the right to medical treatment abroad in a statement marking World Cancer Day.
“Cancer patients in Gaza face multiple challenges that make their health conditions even worse,” Khaled Thabet, head of the ministry’s oncology department, said on Saturday.
“Israel deprives 40 percent of cancer patients in Gaza of their right to medical treatment abroad,” he said, adding that Israeli restrictions “prevent the entry of necessary medicines” to patients.
The health ministry official also emphasised that hospitals in the Palestinian territory “face a huge shortage of radiotherapy services.”
According to the health ministry, there were 5,320 cancer patients in the Palestinian territories by 2021, including 1,952 patients in Gaza.
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Restrictions on access
“Cancer is the third leading cause of death in the Palestinian territories,” according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
For its part, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights called for an end to the Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to healthcare services.
In a statement, the centre warned that "continuing to ban the entry of medical equipment needed to diagnose oncology patients in Gaza entails real risks that worsen the suffering and pain of patients.”
Home to nearly 2.3 million people, Gaza has been reeling under a years-long Israeli blockade since 2007, badly affecting livelihood in the seaside territory.
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