Cancer is a frightening prospect at any time. But enduring such an ordeal during conflicts is a different league of terror altogether. Circumstances have been increasingly pathetic since the outbreak of the recent Israel-Hamas war on October 7, 2023.
Some 2 million Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip have been displaced by months of intense Israeli bombardment. Moreover, strict controls on the entry of humanitarian assistance have deprived the people of even the most basic resources.
Nearly two-thirds of Gaza’s 36 hospitals have been knocked out of action, according to the World Health Organisation. 13 are “partially functioning” with inadequate fuel and supplies, operating at several times their intended capacity.
War bringing Gaza’s medical infrastructure to its knees
For scores of people undergoing cancer treatment, the destruction of healthcare infrastructure, discomfort of life in displacement, and loss of access to life-sustaining drugs and therapies could amount to a death sentence.
In 2021, the cancer incidence rate in the region touched 91.3 cases per 100,000 individuals, noted an article published in The Cureus Journal of Medical Science, citing figures from a Palestinian Ministry of Health report.
Currently, more than 2,000 cancer patients, over 1,000 people in need of dialysis, 50,000 cardiovascular patients and nearly 60,000 diabetics have been left in urgent need of basic health services, according to Euro-Med Monitor.
Nonetheless, even prior to the ongoing bombardment, 16 years of strict Israeli embargo had left people suffering from chronic health conditions facing intense difficulties in accessing medical care, reported Arab News on February 3.
The Gaza Strip once had a reasonably well-developed healthcare system with a workforce of about 25,000 doctors, nurses and specialists. But months of fighting have brought the fragile territory’s medical infrastructure to its knees.
UAE’s focus on offering steadfast support to Gazans
Early detection is immensely important for cancer treatments. Meanwhile, he UAE has stepped up support for the Palestinians in need as President HH Sheikh Mohamed has issued directives to provide treatment for 1,000 injured children and 1,000 cancer patients from Gaza.
The 9th group of Gazans arrived in the capital Abu Dhabi on January 31. Before their arrival, Emirati hospitals had already been treating 426 patients. Furthermore, the total number of cases received at the UAE field hospital in Gaza has reached 2,644.
In November, His Highness ordered the Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence to initiate the “Gallant Knight 3” humanitarian operation to address ongoing sufferings of Palestinians in the enclave. The beneficiaries have expressed gratitude to the Emirates.
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