COVID-19: ICRC donates vital intensive care equipment for Gaza
“The prospect of COVID-19 escaping control in Gaza is frightening, given the weakness of the health system and the dense population of the Gaza Strip,” said Daniel Duvillard, the head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the Occupied Territories. “For the time being there have been only a handful of cases, but Gaza needs to stay vigilant. This equipment will help, yet much more is needed to help the local health facilities cope with any kind of scenario, including the worst-case one.”
The ICRC’s donation includes a ventilator, patient monitors, defibrillators, suction devices, and pumps, which are key tools for treating patients suffering from serious cases of COVID-19.
Even before the pandemic, Gaza was facing serious systemic issues impacting the quality of healthcare available for its population. The healthcare sector in Gaza only has around 110 intensive care beds for adults, of which most are already occupied. Just 93 ventilators are available at intensive care units, against a population of 2 million.
The ICRC is also working to improve the infrastructure at the European Gaza Hospital, the primary facility responsible for treating COVID-19 cases in the Gaza Strip. It is constructing an infection control facility at the hospital and rehabilitating its water treatment plant. It also plans donations of PPE to ensure all staff at the facility are adequately protected.
The ICRC has also donated shipments of hygiene materials and protective clothing such as surgical masks and goggles to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in both Gaza and Ramallah. The PRCS runs ambulance services in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the 101 dispatch center.
“National Societies are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, doing amazing work in exceptionally difficult circumstances. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the PRCS at this moment of great need,” Duvillard said.
Cases of COVID-19 in the West Bank had exceeded 300 at the time of writing, while there had been 17 confirmed cases in Gaza, all of whom were in quarantine or had recovered. COVID-19 is not believed to be spreading within Gaza yet, but the authorities are restricting gatherings and encouraging people to stay at home as a precaution.
The ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies recently launched a global appeal for 823 million US dollars in order to fight COVID-19. Among those funds were USD 256 million for the ICRC to fight COVID-19 in countries affected by conflict, including around USD 9 million for Israel and the occupied territories.
For further information, please contact:
Suhair Zakkout (Arabic, English), ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 59 92 55 381
Dan Waites (English), ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 9150
Shay Davidovich (Hebrew, English), ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 54 349 7075
facebook.com/ICRCot (Arabic), facebook.com/ICRCil (Hebrew), twitter.com/ICRC_ilot, blogs.icrc.org/ilot