In 2020, COVID-19 exacerbated the health crisis in Palestine caused by the ongoing occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The health system in Gaza has been crippled by the 10-year-long Israeli blockade and, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, was struggling to meet patient needs, due to severe shortages of essential medical equipment and supplies.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) continues to provide orthopaedic care in Al-Awda hospital, in the north, and post-operative care, for both children and adults, at our outpatient clinics. Services include physiotherapy and mental health counselling to help patients through long and painful treatment processes.
We also run several projects in Gaza dedicated to the treatment of bone infection caused by violent trauma. In 2020 we opened a new one at Nasser hospital, in the south. We supported Ministry of Health teams in the European hospital when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, donating oxygen concentrators and offering training on oxygen management, patient support and intensive care.
Tackling COVID-19 in Hebron, the epicenter of the outbreak
Nader Owidat (Counselor Educator) is conducting a COVID-19 health promotion activity with children in Masafer Yatta, a collection of 19 Palestinian hamlets in the Hebron Governorate (West Bank).
The West Bank
To support the overstretched health services in Hebron during the pandemic, MSF provided technical advice and training to hospital staff on personal protective equipment (PPE), infectious waste management, infection and prevention control, oxygen therapy, and intensive care in Dura and Alia hospitals, two facilities treating COVID-19 patients.
The occupation and associated violence continue to have a profound impact on the mental health of Palestinians. Our teams offered psychological support in Hebron, Nablus, and Qalqilya, adapting activities to respond to needs related to COVID-19, with remote counselling by phone temporarily replacing in-person support sessions.
We extended our services to treat COVID-19 patients and their families, distributed hygiene kits and PPE, including face masks and conducted health promotion activities in the most at-risk communities. In late 2020, we began to run mobile clinics to provide healthcare in remote communities in the south of Hebron district.
No. staff in 2020: 335 (FTE) » Expenditure in 2020: €18.2 million MSF first worked in the country: 1989