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Gaza’s dialysis crisis: Overcrowded hospitals and critical shortages

Gaza’s hospitals are very crowded, and it’s hard for kidney patients to get dialysis treatment.

Gaza, 25 October, 2023(GNP): The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital has seen a big increase in kidney dialysis patients. Now, hundreds of people are getting shorter treatment sessions because there are only 24 machines available.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, the only working hospital in the central Gaza Strip, became completely full a few days ago. Injured individuals are on the hospital floors, and outside the building, medical tents and mattresses are used to accommodate patients.

Unfortunately, deceased individuals are also being brought to the hospital. Many displaced Palestinians, numbering in the thousands, have sought refuge here, even squeezing into hallways and waiting areas.

Additionally, numerous patients with long-term illnesses who were previously receiving treatment in hospitals in the northern part of the besieged area are now at Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. They had to leave their homes due to evacuation orders issued by the Israeli military.

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Dialysis treatment is a critical matter of life and death for kidney patients.Prior to the recent Israeli offensive that started on October 7, the hospital had 143 patients in need of dialysis. Presently, that number has more than doubled to around 300, including 11 children. All of them share just 24 dialysis machines.

Even before the conflict, Gaza’s health ministry had issued a warning about the precarious situation of 1,100 kidney failure patients, including 38 children.

This was primarily due to a shortage of fuel and the critical lack of essential medical supplies required for dialysis.In the month prior to this, Alaa Helles, the director of the Hospital Pharmacy Department at Gaza’s Ministry of Health, noted that the hospitals in the area were conducting 13,000 dialysis sessions every month.

To meet this demand, over 13,000 filters, 13,000 blood collection tubes, and 26,000 blood cannulas are needed every month. However, due to the control of the territory’s border crossings by Israel and Egypt, even before the conflict, patients faced uncertainty about the availability of these crucial supplies for their treatment.