Doctors Without Borders: Gaza health system is being destroyed

Hunger is being 'used as a weapon of war' in Gaza, Secretary-General Christopher Lockyear tells Anadolu Agency

Publication: 18.03.2024 - 14:23
Doctors Without Borders: Gaza health system is being destroyed
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The secretary-general of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said they have been witnessing the "systematic destruction" of health services in the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023.


Talking to Anadolu Agency on the latest situation in Gaza under intense Israeli attacks, the difficulties encountered in health services and famine, Christopher Lockyear said:

"There is a catastrophe across Gaza. We are particularly concerned about the situation in the north of Gaza, where we have almost no access.”


Highlighting that MSF was on the ground in Gaza before October 7, he said that the residents of Gaza have been under blockade for the last 15 years.


Lockyear noted that the situation in Gaza has deteriorated rapidly since


Hamas' attacks in Israel on October 7.


Stressing that the organization is "very concerned" about the situation of famine there, Lockyear said they are "incredibly worried" about what will happen if Israel launches a ground attack on Rafah in the south of Gaza, where 1.5 million people are currently taking refuge.


He also recalled that the health system in Gaza was in a deplorable state even before October 7.


'High-quality medical care is impossible'


Lockyear noted the "systematic destruction" of health services in the Gaza Strip since October 7, emphasizing that medical teams have been compelled to shift between hospitals due to evacuations.


Highlighting the challenging nature of treating patients with injuries that necessitate "high-quality medical care," he said:

"It is extremely difficult, even impossible, to provide this level of care to patients in Gaza right now."


Lockyear said that they supported six health facilities, including three hospitals in the south and middle of Gaza, and "endeavored" to assist the staff at Al-Awda Hospital in the north.


Noting that MSF aided other hospitals in the north in the past and would like to expand its operations in the region, he said:

"Access remains incredibly challenging. We genuinely seek access to provide treatment and support to the people in the northern region of Gaza," he added.


Pointing to the humanitarian restrictions in Gaza, Lockyear emphasized that they are "concerned" about images of airdrops of aid into Gaza and discussions about the construction of a temporary port for the delivery of aid by sea were "distracting attention from the real problem here."


'We need political solution'

Lockyear, emphasizing a political solution, said:

"Aerial aid and the construction of a temporary port will not solve the situation in Gaza, Healthcare workers must not endure intimidation or fear of indiscriminate bombing before they can deliver healthcare and humanitarian aid,"


Lockyear stressed the importance of deploying qualified medical personnel for sustainable treatment and ensuring their safety in this regard.


For meaningful humanitarian assistance in Gaza, “we require far more access, resources, and security," he added.


Regarding the blockade Gaza has been facing in recent months, Lockyear expressed "extreme concern", noting increasing rates of "malnutrition" observed in health facilities.


'Hunger as a weapon'


Lockyear, adressing the growing famine, said:

"We fear that hunger is being used as a weapon of war with this blockade. Our staff members report starvation and malnutrition affecting them and their families. We are extremely concerned that we cannot reach the people in the north of Gaza, where access is restricted,"


Highlighting the complexity of the situation in hospitals and health facilities, he emphasized the need for security and access to basic medical supplies to ensure high-quality medical care.


While acknowledging the impossibility of predicting the reconstruction of the health system in Gaza, Lockyear remarked: "We are currently in survival mode, striving to sustain our operations on a daily basis."


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