Health Systems Global (HSG)’s Statement in support of health in Palestine

News type: HSG News

Theme: HSG statements

Regional interest: Global

Palestine flag

Authored by the HSG Advocacy Working Group, Board Officers and full Board

HSG’s vision is to “Support health systems to attain better health, equity and wellbeing by strengthening the health policy and systems research, policy and practice communities.1” In conflict situations, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is explicit in its protection of health infrastructure, including hospitals, medical staff, and ambulances, as well as the sick and wounded. Parties to a conflict must respect and preserve the function of healthcare establishments.2 According to international assessments, the Israeli government has violated IHL with respect to health infrastructure during its current offensive on Gaza and the West Bank. Since October 7(to date: May 6, 2024), the World Health Organization’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care has recorded:

  • 899 Israeli attacks on health care facilities across the Occupied Palestine Territories (about ½ in Gaza and ½ in the West Bank3), resulting in 737 deaths, and 1028 injuries,
  • 485 of these attacks affected health care facilities,
  • 366 affected health care transport such as ambulances,
  • 757 impacted health care personnel and
  • 640 impacted patients.4

According to latest data, as of May 6, 2024, in Gaza:

  • only 16 of 36 hospitals are partially functioning (the remaining are not functional at all),
  • only 39 out of 97 primary health care centers are partially functional, and
  • only 25% of UNRWA health centers are functional.5

In November 2023, the UN stated that, “More United Nations aid workers have been killed in Gaza than in any other single conflict in the organization’s 78-year history.”6 Gaza’s health system has completely collapsed due to Israel’s relentless war.

HSG’s commitment

As a non-political membership society, HSG is committed to the strengthening of health systems through health equity, social justice, and decolonization, all of which requires deconstructing global power hegemonies, and the centering of voices of anti-oppression movements for liberation. HSG thus supports global demands for:

  • An immediate and permanent ceasefire in Palestine including an end of the blockade of Gaza to support health care.
  • The end to all forms of settler colonialism and apartheid that harms health systems and health of the people.
  • Full, unrestricted humanitarian access into Gaza for fuel, water, food, medicines, and other necessary supplies in accordance with international law.
  • The protection of all civilians on all sides, including health workers, and the safeguarding of remaining health facilities in Gaza.

HSG also commits to:

  • Exploring mechanisms to support the rebuilding of the Gaza and the West Bank health systems starting from the foundational strength of health workers in Palestine, and with a focus on applying and developing health policy and systems research.
  • Engaging with Palestinian health system scholars to share their work and learn lessons from their experiences.
  • Helping disseminate health data and indicators emerging from health organizations and scholars based in Palestine to highlight immediate health system needs.7
  • Supporting students, faculty, and staff at academic institutions around the world to support the Palestinian health system.
  • Investigating financial ties between HSG and pro-war countries, institutions, and donors through sponsorships, grants, collaborations, and partnerships – and if found, disclosing, and developing a plan for divesting from these financial ties.

References:

  1. https://healthsystemsglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/HSG-Strategic-Plan-2022-2026-1.pdf
  2. https://www.icrc.org/en/document/protection-hospitals-during-armed-conflicts-what-law-says
  3. https://civil-protection-humanitarian-aid.ec.europa.eu/news-stories/news/palestine-statement-attacks-medical-and-civilian-infrastructure-gaza-and-west-bank-2024-05-20_en#:~:text=Since%20October%207%2C%20the%20WHO,These%20attacks%20must%20end.
  4. https://extranet.who.int/ssa/LeftMenu/Index.aspx
  5. https://www.ochaopt.org/content/reported-impact-snapshot-gaza-strip-5-june-2024
  6. https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/14/middleeast/united-nations-staff-deaths-gaza-intl-hnk/index.html
  7. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)02713-7/fulltext

Written by Authored by the HSG Advocacy Working Group, Board Officers and full Board

Health Systems Global (HSG)
Health Systems Global (HSG)