Palestine: MSF increases medical efforts for wounded in Gaza strip

102 patients have received post-operative care in Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinics in Palestine, between Sunday and Wednesday, after being shot during the first days of the “March of Return”. MSF is also bolstering its capacity to provide healthcare, fearing that more wounded will need care in the days and weeks to come.

On 30 March, thousands of Palestinians answered the call for the so-called “March of Return”, on the occasion of “Land Day”.

According to the Ministry of Health, in just one day 1,415 people - mainly young men - were injured and 758 were shot by Israel Defense Forces. All those who were injured received treatment in Ministry of Health facilities.

In four days, a total of 102 patients were admitted after being shot in the lower extremities, in the three medical facilities where MSF already provides specialised care for trauma and burns patients. More than 35 per cent have fractures that will require long-term treatment, potentially several surgical interventions and rehabilitation. The rest of the patients have soft tissue injuries, but they may also need further surgical care and several weeks of dressing care.

“We had already faced a worrying increase in the number of people shot by Israel Defense Forces at the border since December 2017, in the context of the Palestinian demonstrations that followed the announcement of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel,” said Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, MSF’s representative in Palestine.  “The number of patients with trauma injuries had risen to 20 per week while it was 20 per month before November 2017.

MSF is ready to open a new consultation room in one public health facility in Gaza, to increase the capacity for post-operative care including specialised nursing care and wound dressings. MSF is in close contact with Ministry of Health medical staff, and can also provide specialised surgical teams to support the local hospitals if needed.

MSF has also donated an emergency kit with disposable medical materials and drugs, which can treat more than 100 injured patients in Ministry of Health facilities.

“We are worried that more people might need care in our clinics in the coming days, as more patients will be referred from hospitals,” added Ingres. “We also fear that more violence will occur and that more people will be wounded during the next demonstration scheduled for Friday 6 April, as well following events planned on the run up to 15 May. MSF will respond to the current emergency according to the needs of the population in Gaza.