Five things you should know about the health crisis in the Middle East

The severity of the healthcare situation, particularly in Gaza, cannot be overstated. A massive reduction in health service availability; acute shortages of essential medicines; attacks on healthcare infrastructure; crowded, unhygienic living conditions with critically limited access to basic resources like clean water; continued exposure to traumatic events; and escalating food insecurity – are all contributing to a healthcare catastrophe, the long-term effects of which will be profound. Here's five things you should know

IMAGE: Ibrahim Zaanoun/Anera

1. Hospitals are under attack

Many hospitals and health facilities have been severely damaged or destroyed due to the conflict. Just 17 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are still operational, and none of those are functioning fully, leading to inadequate access to healthcare for the population. This has significantly reduced the capacity to provide emergency care, maternity services, and other critical health provision.

IMAGE: Abdul Dennaoui/Medair

2. Essential supplies are running out

In Gaza and the West Bank, humanitarian aid, including medical supplies and food, face significant barriers in reaching those in need. Delays and impediments at checkpoints severely hamper efforts to distribute aid to those who need it, and once goods do gain entry to Gaza, attacks on aid workers and facilities are a constant threat. The lack of essential medical supplies getting into Gaza and the West Bank drastically limits stock in the few health centres still operational, further hampering the ability to provide adequate healthcare to patients with desperate chronic conditions.

IMAGE: Ibrahim Zaanoun/Anera

3. Infectious diseases are spreading

Almost 3,000 children have been cut off from treatment for moderate and severe acute malnutrition in southern Gaza, according to UNICEF reporting. The ongoing conflict has disrupted food supplies, pushing Gaza towards a potential famine. The destruction of infrastructure, overcrowding in shelters and the rise of malnutrition cases have heightened the risk of the spread of infectious diseases. Limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities has further compounded this issue, increasing the prevalence of diseases such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections.

IMAGE: Abdul Dennaoui/Medair

4. It's not just physical health at stake

Patients are trapped amid an ongoing conflict with no end in sight. Prolonged and repetitive exposure to traumatic events severely impacts the mental health of the population. Mental health services are severely limited, with many people, including children, in need of psychosocial support due to the trauma and stress of living in a war zone.

IMAGE: Abdul Dennaoui/Medair

5. It’s not just Gaza that’s affected

Access in and out of the West Bank is severely restricted. Most checkpoints across the West Bank remain closed, limiting people's movements and affecting their ability to access basic services, including medical care. Palestinians in the West Bank are experiencing an explosion of violence against them. Jenin has been particularly hard hit, with bombings and incursions by Israeli forces in the refugee camp killing and wounding dozens of people. As of 28 May, the World Health Organization has documented 480 attacks on health care in the West Bank since the start of the conflict, they include attacks on health infrastructure and ambulances, the detention of health workers and patients, obstruction of their access to health facilities, use of force on health workers and militarised searches of ambulances and staff

In Lebanon, the conflict has intensified hostilities along the Lebanon-Israel border, with missile attacks resulting in 1,534 casualties, including 375 deaths, and destruction of key infrastructure, including health facilities. Many health care workers have left Lebanon since the start of the crisis, and medical facilities are working with limited resources. Local health centres, which are already at capacity, could face increasing pressure as they contend with the growing medical needs of people displaced from the south.

You won’t imagine how these critical donated items will make the patients happy in the light of lack of medication, especially chronic disease medications

– Ahmed El Najjar, Anera Medical Donations Officer, Gaza –

How is IHP helping?

IHP medicines are offered to patients as part of Anera's free medical days in Gaza. IMAGE: Anera

Prior to the escalation of violence, IHP had an existing long-term programme in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Since the start of the conflict, IHP has reached over half a million patients with thirteen shipments including essential medicines and supplies. The needs are vast, and we need your support now more than ever.

These shipments have included:

  • Cancer medicines
  • Mental health medication  
  • Antibiotics and pain relief medication
  • Medical supplies, such as insulin needles and syringes
  • Water purification tablets
  • Medicines for chronic health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes

In Gaza

IHP medicines have been utilised by our partner Anera as part of their free medical days, at their wound clinics and more recently, at the opening of a dedicated non-communicable disease clinic in Khan Younis. People living with chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes are particularly at risk to disruptions in their treatment so ensuring sustained access to medication is vital.

In the West Bank

IHP have sent three shipments of essential medicines and medical supplies in partnership with Anera. These shipments are supporting over 122,000 patients.

In Lebanon

IHP recently shipped over £3 million worth of cancer medicines, supporting 868 patients who are undergoing ongoing treatment. Patients just like Malek’s sister, whose family faced a desperate search to find the medicines she needed. READ THEIR STORY HERE

IMAGE: Abdul Dennaoui/Medair

With the increasing scale of the crisis across the region, we continue to respond to urgent medical needs and have a further nine shipments in development that will support more than 250,000 patients over the next few months.  

We are working tirelessly to source and send more medicines to meet the growing needs. We urgently need your support to continue this life-saving work. Will you help us bring hope and better access to health to those affected by this crisis?


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£5 can help us to give 15 people treatment

£20 will provide 16 children with antibiotics

£100 will provide 83 pregnant women with life saving medicine.

£450 will provide am emergency medical kit to 60 families.

Whatever you give, you could be making a life-changing, even life-saving difference to someone every month.

See how your donation makes a difference

£5 is enough to source and send £600 worth of medical supplies a year to people in need; enough to help approximately 50 people around the world.

£10 is enough to source and send £1,200 worth of medical supplies a year to people in need; enough to help approximately 100 people around the world.

£25 is enough to provide around 750 treatments in a year, helping approximately 250 people in need; and for some, is the difference between life & death.

£100 is enough to provide medicines and supplies for approximately 1,000 people a year living in disaster-hit and vulnerable communites.

Whatever you give, you could be making a life-changing, even life-saving difference to someone every month.

Help us deliver access to medicine all year round

Join our giving community and help us transform the health outlook of families every single month.

From fundraising to delivering medicines, you can also support our vital work in other ways.

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