Bulletin #62: Healthcare in Palestine in the line of fire

This fortnight

On multiple occasions since the beginning of Israel's attacks on Gaza on October 7, healthcare institutions have found themselves in the line of fire. Targeting hospitals and other health infrastructure constitutes a breach of international law, which is even more deplorable given that tens of thousands of people are seeking shelter in these buildings at the moment, and stocks of fuel and medical supplies remain critically low.

Among these hospitals is the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, established as a symbol of friendship between the people of Indonesia and Palestine. We met with Arief Rachman from the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), the Indonesian organization that initiated the construction of the hospital, to discuss the current situation and expectations for the coming days.

In addition to the physical attacks on healthcare in Palestine, Israel is also conducting a campaign to undermine various aspects of the right to health movement. In a video interview, Layth Hanbali, a health worker from Palestine, sheds light on the connections between settler colonialism and the state of health.

Beyond Palestine, health is under threat due to attempts to implement new austerity measures and pressures coming from the corporate sector. In the United States, migrants are being relocated from certain southern states to Chicago, where they lack access to adequate housing and health services. This situation is increasing the risk of the spread of communicable diseases, including COVID-19.

Meanwhile, in France, the government is planning a series of cuts to social security and healthcare in 2024. In recent weeks, local groups and trade unions have mobilized to oppose the new Social Security Funding Bill and establish an alternative set of priorities for the upcoming period.

New scientific evidence continues to emerge regarding the health risks associated with the consumption of ultra-processed food. A recent report on the growing consumption of junk food in India analyzes the role that marketing plays in this trend and provides recommendations for better industry regulation.

Video: End to the occupation needed to fulfil right to health in Palestine

Palestinian health worker Layth Hanbali speaks about how Israel’s siege has devastated Gaza’s health system which was already struggling due to the blockade

In focus: Health in Palestine

The Indonesian Hospital in Gaza bears proof of the friendship between Indonesian and Palestinian people

Amid Israeli attacks and fuel shortages, the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza stands as a beacon of international solidarity

As attacks on hospitals in Gaza intensify, health workers remain steadfast

Three major hospitals in northern Gaza face attacks by the Israeli occupying forces as generators stop functioning

Migrant health in Chicago suffers due to lack of planning and support

As migrants continue to arrive in Chicago, the city struggles to provide adequate shelter and health care for the new arrivals

The Junk Push: ultra-processed food industry gains ground in India

A recent report details how aggressive marketing strategies are influencing Indians to consume more ultra-processed food (UPF), colloquially known as junk food, and therefore undermining the health of thousands

Social Security Funding Bill to deal new blow to healthcare in France

Health groups in France continue to mobilize for alternatives to Macron’s plans to further slash health and social security budget

Data speaks

Civil society organizations are urgently appealing to the co-chairs of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to ensure a more balanced negotiating text for the pandemic prevention and response instrument. The organizations express deep concerns about the current draft text, which appears to favor the Global North and lacks legally binding commitments related to equity, particularly in terms of equitable access to pandemic-related medical products.

The organizations highlight the stark disparities in access to essential medical goods during the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing that a fair and inclusive process is needed to address these issues effectively. They urge the Bureau to allow WHO Member States to contribute their textual suggestions before formal negotiations begin and insist that proposals from developing countries be addressed in formal sessions. This call for equity and fairness is an essential step toward bridging the inequalities in pandemic prevention and response.

Source: Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), https://dawnnet.org/

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