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Gaza's health crisis

Updated: Feb 26

Demolished buildings in Gaza

Palestinian civilians in Gaza confront a dire health crisis, compounded by a collapsing health system, limited access to food and clean water, and the threat of infectious diseases and malnutrition amid ongoing violence. UNICEF has called Gaza the most dangerous place in the world to be a child.  


Conflict inevitably damages health infrastructure, and disease follows. In the 2022 invasion of Ukraine and ongoing civil wars in Syria and Yemen, tuberculosis and polio have re-emerged as public health concerns. Infections spread more easily without proper access to sanitation or prevention measures. The rapid spread of these diseases in vulnerable populations threatens to increase the already unacceptable death-toll of this conflict.


Only six of Gaza's 36 hospitals remain partially functional, with the rest too damaged to operate. This leaves a significant challenge for the continued delivery of health services during this crisis, and into the future.


On top of these catastrophic conditions, the entire population of Gaza is at risk of malnutrition, with many families turning to animal feed for sustenance. Almost 10% of children under five are already acutely malnourished - a figure which is likely to grow as the war continues, and access to food and humanitarian aid remains limited.


WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stated that “People in Gaza are suffering from a lack of food, water, medicines and adequate healthcare. Famine will make an already terrible situation catastrophic because sick people are more likely to succumb to starvation and starving people are more vulnerable to disease”.


An immediate, permanent ceasefire is the only way that people in Gaza will be able to access much-needed primary healthcare, and begin to rebuild their lives.

Amelia Richardson is Results Australia's Projects and Communications Officer. She holds a Bachelor of Development Studies (Hons) from the Australian National University.


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