The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Unsafe and unhygienic conditions: Gaza hospital halts surgeries amid cleaning staff strike Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Unsafe and unhygienic conditions: Gaza hospital halts surgeries amid cleaning staff strike

Kidney dialysis patients have been badly affected by the crisis [Ministry of Health]

Date of publication: 13 February, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Cleaning staff at a Gaza hospital are striking after months without pay, pushing the health facility into a spiralling crisis as its unsanitary conditions means it can no longer operate
Gaza's al-Shifa hospital has been forced to postpone some 200 surgeries as it enters a hygiene crisis after cleaning staff strike over months without pay, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday.

The ministry announced it had to suspend all but life-saving surgical operations, due to the unsafe and unhygienic conditions the hospital facilities are now in.

The ministry released photos of waste piling up in hospital corridors, waiting rooms and wards, adding that other staff attempted to clean the hospital but the situation had worsened to point where "it could no longer be dealt with", according to one of the doctors.

The situation is particularly bad in operating theatres, blood laboratories, maternity wards and the kidney department, due to the presence of human waste and blood, which can cause the spread of bacteria and of bad odours, the doctor added.

Patients in the hospital's kidney department reportedly cleaned the kidney dialysis room themselves, after dangerous waste including used needles, blood samples, and human waste accumulated to dangerous levels. Dialysis patients are particularly at risk as their immune system is compromised due to their weak kidneys.

Hospital directors have issued grave warnings about the implications of the build up of dangerous waste [Ministry of Health]

The director of al-Shifa's maternity unit issued an urgent appeal for cleaning staff to be paid and return to work, as women's and babies' lives were at risk due to delayed access to surgery and unsanitary conditions due to the large amounts of blood lost by women during childbirth.

Hospital cleaners have reportedly not received their salary for the fifth month in a row, as Gaza's healthcare system experiences a paralysing crisis of funding, fuel and resources. 

The Health Ministry, based in Ramallah, blames Hamas for the crisis, accuses them of not handing over full control of the Gaza Strip, which Hamas denies.

'Months without pay!' Gaza's hospital cleaning staff protest outside their workplace [Ministry of Health]

Israel's crippling blockade of the besieged enclave has been at the root of the chronic energy and medication shortages.

Last week it was reported that 19 of Gaza's health care facilities had been forced to close as they ran out of fuel for their emergency generators, the only source of electricity during the current power crisis.

Medical supplies are also at an all-time low, with 40 percent of all essential drugs entirely depleted in January, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However the WHO announced on Thursday that the UAE had pledged to provide funding to end the fuel shortage and reopen Gaza's ailing health facilities. 

No date has yet been given for the centres to resume normal operation.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More