As bombing in Gaza keeps patients at home, MSF takes clinics to the neighbourhoods

“The intensity of the bombing in Gaza strip is constraining any movement in the area,” explained Cecile Barbou, MSF Medical Coordinator. “Patients are afraid to go to the hospital for their medical follow up and to receive the post operative care they need. Health personnel also fear moving around. Meanwhile rumours are circulating on an imminent ground attack of Israeli forces.”

While the first days of bombing on Gaza lead the hospitals to be overwhelmed by the influx of wounded, now the health structures are able to cope on a day to day basis with the number of wounded.

“Initially there was a lot of confusion created with the sudden massive influx of wounded. Little by little the work was reorganised and now the Palestinian health practitioners have sufficient capacity to accommodate the wounded that are arriving” said Franck Joncret, MSF Head of Mission.

Since December 30, MSF has tried to re-open its paediatric clinic in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, where the paediatric consultations were helping to relieve the workload of Kamel Edwan hospital. The January 1 bombing in the zone forced the MSF team to suspend their work only two hours after starting. Meanwhile in Gaza city, few patients were able to go to the MSF clinic for their medical follow up. Patients from Shifa hospital are referred to this clinic for post operative care. On January 2, both MSF clinics were empty as patients are unable to travel due to the insecurity.

Faced with these conditions, MSF is adapting its response. Our medical staff are starting to treat patients in their own neighbourhoods.

“Sixteen MSF local doctors and nurses have taken medical supplies back home,” explained Jessica Pourraz, Field Coordinator in Gaza. “In this way, they’ve been to treat people who are sick and wounded in their own neighbourhoods.”