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As the conflict in Gaza continues for a ninth month, the health system in northern Gaza is in shambles. By Courtney Ridgway


A group of surgeons and trauma care specialists with Project HOPE and the Jordanian Health Aid Society–International (JHASi) recently began working in Public Aid Hospital in Gaza City. The hospital is dangerously overcrowded, medical supplies must be used for multiple procedures, high-need patients must be transferred to alternate locations due to a lack of specialty care or ICUs, and there are not enough health workers to respond to the vast number of patients seeking emergency care.


Public Aid Hospital is one of just three remaining partially functional hospitals in northern Gaza, given that aid services remain nearly nonexistent due to a lack of access and safety concerns. At this time, Project HOPE and JHASi are the only two INGOs providing medical care in northern Gaza.


Dr. Osama Hamed, General Surgeon with Project HOPE and JHASi in Gaza City, said:


“We are operating to the sound of explosions and drones day and night. Electricity in the hospital is very unstable, and often we end up finishing operations with flashlights. There is an extreme shortage of health care workers in north Gaza right now. There are very few experienced surgeons and some surgical specialties have disappeared. We are operating on patients outside of our specialties, but we have no choice. Last week, we treated a vascular and ureteral injury on a 13-year-old-boy, and there were no appropriate sutures anywhere in the hospital. A colleague had to physically run to a nearby hospital to get the last box they had. Without that, the patient would have died.


Every day, we see patients who are just skin and bones, as a sign of severe malnutrition. Patients have reported not eating any protein for several months, making it impossible for their bodies to recover from infections and injuries. Due to the severity of malnourishment, the patients we see here in Gaza suffer from wound infections, poor wound healing, severe muscle loss, and emaciation. I have seen patients who looked way smaller than their actual age, due to having lost muscles mass and the starvation they suffer from daily. In addition to food, people have limited access to clean drinking water. The other day, a young girl was admitted to the OR and begged me for water.


People are not only dying from violence, but they are dying from preventable causes. So far, I have seen 10 people who are recovering from hepatitis A infection including my assistant surgeon. Without proper access to medical supplies and health workers, and without proper access to healthy food and clean water, we will see more innocent people die. Health workers, surgical specialties, medical supplies, food, and clean water must be prioritized.”


Project HOPE is actively supporting Palestinian communities affected by the conflict throughout Gaza and the West Bank. Our team in Gaza has provided over 42,000 health consultations at our primary health clinics in Deir al Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah. In partnership with JHASi, our emergency and trauma medical staff have provided care to nearly 9,000 patients at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al Balah and Public Aid Hospital in Gaza City. We have provided mental health support to nearly 15,000 Palestinians through local partners and have distributed family hygiene kits, mattresses, and blankets through our partner ANERA. Additionally, we have delivered over 20,000 pounds of medical supplies and have additional supplies that are still awaiting entry into Gaza.