“. . . Access is a fundamental element of the right to health . . .” (Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub)

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Oct. 28, 2015. Israeli soldiers Invade Maternity Ward of al-Makassed Hospital (Photo: Silwanic)

❶ . World Health Organization: Substantial Israeli restrictions on access to health

  • Background: “Attitudes Of Palestinian Medical Students On The Geopolitical Barriers To Accessing Hospitals For Clinical Training: A Qualitative Study.” Conflict & Health 

❷ . In Jerusalem, insurance becomes extortion
❸ . Teacher with Down syndrome breaks stereotypes for Gaza’s mentally disabled students
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ .  WORLD  HEALTH  ORGANIZATION:  SUBSTANTIAL  ISRAELI  RESTRICTIONS  ON  ACCESS  TO  HEALTH  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 1, 2016
Marking the United Nations declaration of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a 2-year report on health access for Gaza patients to highlight how the Israeli permit system and physical barriers obstruct health access for Palestinian patients, ambulances and health workers.
___The study “Right to health: crossing barriers to access health in the occupied Palestinian territory, 2014 – 2015,” was based on data provided by Palestinian Authority ministries and non-profit health providers, as well as patient interviews and field studies, said a WHO press release.     “Access is a fundamental element of the right to health. . . .   ” said Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, the WHO head of the office in the West Bank and Gaza. “Yet the data indicates substantial restrictions for thousands of patients and their companions who are trying to travel to their places of referral.”    More . . . 

  • Shahawy, Sarrah, and Megan Diamond. “Attitudes Of Palestinian Medical Students On The Geopolitical Barriers To Accessing Hospitals For Clinical Training: A Qualitative Study.” Conflict & Health 10.(2016): 1-9.   ARTICLE.

[. . . .]  We designed a qualitative study using focus group discussions to explore the attitudes of Palestinian medical students at Al-Quds University on the barriers they face reaching hospitals for clinical training.
[. . . .] The findings from this study identify some of the hardships that Palestinian medical students face when undergoing their clinical training in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Living and studying in an occupied territory characterized by permit and checkpoint regulations significantly hindered the students’ ability to access high quality medical training.
___Medical students who had their permits to enter Jerusalem rejected were unable to train at Al-Makassed Hospital and were often forced to rely on clinical training in the West Bank, which they felt was less adequate.
[. . . .] Consistent with other literature on the challenges of receiving an education under occupation, focus groups highlighted how the emotional and psychological burden of the occupation specifically affected them as students, as it was hard to concentrate on their studies due to a stressful commute and surrounding political instability and violence. Their quality of life was impacted with little time for sleep or social activity. In the face of these challenges, Palestinian medical students exhibited extraordinary resilience, resourcefulness, and dedication to their education.
___Obstacles to accessing education in the occupied Palestinian territories are not limited to medical students. Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation, confrontation and tension surrounding Palestinian education has been pervasive at all educational levels.
[. . . .]  Conclusion:  Our findings suggest that medical students living and studying in the occupied Palestinian territories receive sub-optimal training due to ambiguous permit rules, barriers at checkpoints, and the psychological burden of the process. These results highlight the impact that military occupation has on the education and quality of life of Palestinian medical students in a setting in which there is regular violence and many health indicators are already poor. New transparent policies and a larger context of peace and sovereignty will be required to build an effective health care system in which Palestinian medical students can pursue adequate clinical training that will prepare them to care for their people in a resource-poor and war-torn setting.

❷ . IN  JERUSALEM,  INSURANCE  BECOMES  EXTORTION 
The Electronic Intifada
Joharah Baker
Nov. 28,  2016
Earlier this year, new regulations made it mandatory for all residents in Jerusalem with temporary family unification permits to obtain Israeli medical insurance.
___The law, which came into effect on 1 August, will cost those affected a monthly fee in addition to a large backdated one-time charge.
___It has caused an angry uproar among Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who see it as yet another attempt by Israeli authorities to target their community and make their precarious existence in the city even more challenging.       More . . .

hiba-04-001
Hiba Anis Mustafa Shurafa guides students in her Gaza classroom, Nov. 30, 2016 (Photo: Mondoweiss)

❸ . TEACHER  WITH  DOWN  SYNDROME  BREAKS  STEREOTYPES  FOR  GAZA’S  MENTALLY  DISABLED  STUDENTS 
Mondoweiss  
Mohammed Asad
Nov. 30, 2016
Hiba Anis Mustafa Shurafa guides students in her Gaza classroom, instructing them on the art of how to hold a pen and keep a steady hand when writing out letters. She understands the task is challenging because, like her students, Shurafa has Down syndrome.
___The 27-year old teacher at the Right to Life Society school in Gaza City was once a student at the institution where she now instructs pupils with mental disabilities. Researchers at Bir Zeit University found that among Palestinians with disabilities in the occupied territories and Lebanese refugee camps, more than one-third never attend school. A further 87 percent will never be employed, making Shurafa and the Right to Life Society all the more unique.       More . . .

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