Weekly Covid-19 Statistics via Jewish Voice for Peace [May 30, 2020]
Please note that Coronavirus cases are an underestimate given the lack of testing and asymptomatic carriers. [More Information]
Palestinians Report First Coronavirus Death in Gaza [May 23,2020]
Spike in new coronavirus cases puts Gaza on edge. [May 21, 2020]
Coronavirus infections among residents returning to Gaza has more than doubled the number of cases in the strip in recent days, raising fears of a bigger outbreak. [Read]
Artists, authors and actors from around the world have demanded an end to Israel’s 14 year old blockade of the Gaza Strip and urged that governments impose a military embargo on Israel until it ends its collective punishment and abides by International law. With most medical supplies barred by the blockade, the Gaza Strip now reportedly has 55 Covid-19 infections and one death from the disease. [Read]
Healthcare workers preparedness for COVID-19 pandemic in the occupied Palestinian territory [May 13, 2020]
- There is a severe lack of PPE (mainly N95 masks, eye protection, and face shields) among healthcare workers in Palestine.
- There is a disparity in PPE availability between Gaza Strip and West Bank and between governmental and non-governmental hospitals.
- Most healthcare workers don’t feel confident in dealing with a potential COVID-19 case.
97% of the 2 million people in the Gaza Strip must live without clean water for hygiene and consumption. 98% of the water is contaminated. [May 12, 2020] [Read]
Who matters? Pandemic in a time of structural violence [May 5, 2020]
An Opinion piece by Alice Rothchild in Mondoweiss, an independent website devoted to informing readers about developments in Israel/Palestine and related US foreign policy.
UK Palestine Mental Health Network [April 25,2020]
Video recording of the conversation with psychiatrist Dr Yasser Abu Jamei, Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, offering a mental health professional’s insight into life in Gaza under the combined pressures of the blockade, and the coronavirus pandemic. If you can, please donate to the work of GCMHP. The pandemic is impacting on the resourcing of Palestinian NGOs. View video by using copying and pasting the password 3f#&Z1td
Democracy Now! segment featuring Dr. Tarek Loubani [April 24, 2020]
Dr. Tarek Louban is a Palestinian-Canadian doctor and emergency physician who returned from a trip to the Gaza Strip last month. Here he describes “a situation of absolute catastrophe”. [Watch]
If the Coronavirus Devastates Gaza, Israel Will Be to Blame [April 18, 2020]
Award-winning journalist Jonathan Cook writes that “For decades Israel has pursued a policy of treating Palestinians as less than human. It has minutely controlled their lives while denying any meaningful responsibility for their welfare. That deeply unethical and inhumane stance could soon face the ultimate test.” [Read]
Gaza runs out of coronavirus tests, Palestinian health officials say [April 8, 2020]
Gaza has no more coronavirus test kits, Palestinian health officials have advised. “Testing at our central laboratory has stopped, after coronavirus test kits completely ran out,” Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said. Officials have voiced concern that a shortage of critical equipment and medical supplies could set off a rapid spread among the enclave’s two million people. [Read]
A Message from GCMHP head Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei [April 5, 2020]
Two days ago it was announced that 2 new cases of COVID 19 were discovered in Gaza Strip. Both were in quarantine centers and it’s most likely that they are people returning to Gaza from abroad. Total number of cases is now 12 and we hope this doesn’t increase. The local authorities have announced all academic and education institutions will continue to be closed until further notice. This was a decision that was taken early March and was to be revisited end of last month. All gatherings continue to be not allowed including weddings, funerals, restaurants and local open markets. Mosques are not open for prayers since last week. Yesterday, our president announced extending the emergency period for another month. There is a great anxiety and fear in Gaza that the health system will not be able to handle an outbreak or if the number becomes hundreds. Hospitals are not prepared and we have around 60 ventilators and most of the quarantine centers are just schools.
Since the beginning of these developments GCMHP took several measures and prepared a crisis response plan. The plan aims at maintaining GCMHP services as much as possible specially the therapeutic ones and taking all possible safety measures. The main measures are as follows:
- Scale up activities related to awareness raising of issues related to COVID 19 and the psychological impact of the measures taken by the community on the population. Activities include radio and tv programmes, spots, publications and the use of social media platforms. Also, free telephone counseling service to be increased and capable of responding to 5 calls at a time rather than one.
- Scaling down activities: These aim at reducing contact between staff and clients and between clients themselves and mainly related to clinical interventions. We are keeping our three community centers working at their usual working hours however will reduce exposure through increasing duration between follow up visit and give medications for longer periods. Patients will be visiting each second or third week rather than on weekly basis. At the same time, patients will be able to reach our community centers or free counseling lines.
- Postponing or modifying activities: As gatherings are not anymore possible, activities like public meetings and workshops stopped and replaced with radio and TV programmes. Training courses are mostly postponed till the crisis is over. However online teaching still takes place and we are introducing more meetings over Skype, Zoom and other means of communication. This also applies to activities that target our colleagues who receive supervision or care for caregivers as we will try to maintain them online. Work with schools and kindergartens is put on halt till reopening the education system.
Our staff are doing their best as we are interested in maintaining our services, staying with our clients and take safety measures. All staff are expected to be working at our premises or remotely for the activities that could be carried remotely.
We put these actions together and modified our workplan for the months April – September and we hope it won’t take that long till we are back to normal life. We are also reaching our donors as we need their approvals for the modifications and we hope that things will be fine.
And as I stated this e-mail, please stay safe, stay home as much as possible and my best wishes to everyone at your end.
Yasser AbuJamei MD
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
phone +972 8 2641511 – 2641512
fax +972 8 2641510
mobile +972 59 9770377
Updates from the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council: Health and Human Rights Media Watch
April 1, 2020 [Read]
On behalf of UNRWA USA, thank you for your generous donation of $5,000.00 made on 3/19/2020 from Gaza Mental Health Foundation. This generous investment will support UNRWA’s mental health and psychosocial programs in the Gaza Strip. Gaza Mental Health Foundation received no goods or services in return for this grant. My UNRWA USA colleagues join me in extending our appreciation to you and your board for this partnership.
Interview with the Gaza Community Mental Health Program on the Covid-19 Impact in the Gaza Strip [March 28, 2020]
Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, the head of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, is interviewed about the Corona virus situation in the Gaza Strip. When the interview took place two people had been identified as positive for Covid-19. By the end of March the number had risen to ten. [Watch]
The Gaza Strip Has been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could be Catastrophic [March 27, 2020]
Per Israeli activist and global health specialist Neve Gordon, the intensity of the suffering of Gaza’s population due to Covid-19 will not be due to natural causes, but because the military siege has put the people of Gaza at an immense disadvantage in all three categories that are considered vital for combating the virus’s dissemination: health services, social determinants of health, and physical distancing. The lockdowns currently being experienced globally differ from the lockdown of the population in Gaza. “For us, the lockdown is a mechanism deployed to save lives,” Gordon writes. “In Gaza , the corona lockdown will simply kill.” [Read]
Podcast interview with Mariam Abualatta, a Project Officer from one of our partner organizations Aisha Association for Women and Child Protection [March 26, 2020]
What life is like in the Gaza Strip in the days since two cases of the coronavirus have been reported. [Listen]
Coronavirus enters the Gaza Strip
On March 22 Palestinian health authorities detected the first two cases of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip. The two Palestinian men had returned from Pakistan via Egypt and were placed in quarantine in Rafah. Living in one of the most densely-crowded places on earth, where 98% of the water is not fit to drink and the health care system is collapsing, the 2 million residents of the Gaza Strip are considered to be highly endangered by the pandemic.
Here, Jehad Abusalim, a Gaza policy analyst now studying at New York University, describes why the virus presents such a deadly threat to the Gaza Strip. [Read]
Updates from the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council: Health and Human Rights Media Watch
March 1, 2020 [Read]
Gaza Mental Health Foundation deplores mental health impact of Trump ‘peace plan’
The January 2020 Trump/Kushner plan for Israel/Palestine, ironically titled Peace to Prosperity, is a flawed, ahistorical document that is basically a gift to the Israeli government, affirming and giving international blessings to much of the status quo. The document claims that decades-long problems can only be solved by ignoring history and international law and proposing technocratic solutions to political problems and issues of social justice.
The Gaza Mental Health Foundation is focused on supporting institutions in Gaza that sustain research and treatment for psychological disorders grounded in traditional psychiatric theory and practice as well as an understanding that mental health cannot exist without human rights.
To this end, recognizing that the Trump plan makes no mention of human rights for Palestinians and no acknowledgement of the Israeli military aggression that is a core feature of occupation and siege, we deplore this latest development.
This proposal will also have a serious negative impact for those living in the region, increasing the already massive stressors on the economy, health, housing, education, access to water, and raising the level of despair and poverty. Thus from a clinical point of view, looking at the plan’s impact on physical and mental health, we also express our deep concern.
We join many in the US and the international community in exposing this plan as a carefully worded political charade that cannot possibly be supported by those who care about a viable future for Israelis and Palestinians and by those who understand the realities on the ground.
Alice Rothchild for the board of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation