Gaza Healthcare Crisis: Insights from Dr. Fauzia Alvi’s Medical Mission

Pakistani health expert, based in Canada Dr. Fauzia Alvi recently visited Gaza as part of a four-member medical mission and served at various centers, in Rafah and Gaza. PIMA and Alkhidmat Health Foundation organized an online session with Dr. Fozia on 3rd March 2024, during which she shared insights about her visit to Gaza and briefed on the challenges facing the healthcare system there.

She mentioned that after the recent crisis, this was the first team of primary healthcare-related doctors who visited Gaza in February 2024 with the cooperation of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO).

She explained that the people of Gaza are suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis. Infrastructure is destroyed, and essentials such as electricity, medicines, water, and food are scarce. The biggest challenge at present is lack of clean water and food, as without them, diseases like hepatitis A are spreading rapidly. We saw scores of patients who were operated on in Shifa Hospital Gaza and had to flee once it was destroyed. Hardware was applied to their fractured limbs and had infected wounds as antibiotics were not available. The most common picture there was of hunger and malnutrition, as only a fraction of what is necessary for millions of people, is released. It was affecting common people as well as medical staff there.

Despite the most difficult situations, the people of Gaza exhibit an unwavering faith in Allah. Dr. Alvi mentioned that she has visited several conflict zones and refugee camps, but she has never seen such an example of faith and trust in Allah anywhere else in the world. She noted that the people of Gaza have immense love for Pakistan which has increased due to the voices raised in their favor and humanitarian aid reached from Pakistan especially Alkhidmat. When they knew that we are Pakistani doctors, they raised their hands in prayer for dua.

She stated that the Gaza is facing extreme difficulties in health care; their need keeps on changing with time and once it was only surgeons and anesthetists, now in addition they need physicians, pediatricians and women doctors. With the cooperation of the Gaza Health Ministry and WHO, they are trying to create a corridor through which doctors from all over the world, including Pakistan, can provide their services whenever situation is easier. They have established a mobile center, and efforts are underway to expand it to four more centers soon. Additionally, they are actively working on telemedicine. She urged everyone, including non-medical people, to do whatever they can, as Gaza needs us in the name of Allah more than ever.

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