Bulletin #64: Health crises unfold in Palestine, Sudan, Bangladesh

This fortnight

Following Israel’s termination of a one-week truce in the relentless attack on the Gaza Strip on December 1, Palestine's healthcare system is still operating without sufficient medical supplies and fuel. Despite adversities, health workers in Palestine persist in protecting the people's right to health, even at the risk of arrests and persecution. Their unwavering commitment is gaining recognition worldwide.

The risk of disease outbreaks in the Gaza Strip continues to grow, especially as undernourished displaced people seek refuge in overcrowded spaces and temperatures drop. A parallel situation unfolds in Sudan, where the rapid spread of cholera poses a threat to approximately 6 million people displaced by the armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, an ongoing crisis since April 2023.

Bangladesh is grappling with a severe outbreak of dengue fever, which has claimed the lives of over 1,000 people and exposed tens of thousands more to financial and existential hardships. In Brazil, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed healthy food out of reach for many families and jeopardized the well-being of thousands of children and adolescents.

In Greece, health workers have taken a stand by going on strike, demanding fairer salaries and more employment. Their protest is a response to the adverse effects of austerity measures implemented in the country over the past decade.

At the end of November, the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, commenced in Dubai. Over the next two weeks, government representatives are expected to discuss critical issues, including achieving goals outlined in the Paris Agreement and addressing the risks associated with reliance on fossil fuels. However, activists caution that the significant presence of industry at the conference means that decisive action may still be out of reach.

Similar expectations apply to the incoming round of the intergovernmental negotiations for a Pandemic Treaty, as high-income countries continue to pursue an agenda friendlier to the corporate sector than to the people's interests.

In focus: Health in Palestine

Risks of infectious diseases, malnutrition soar as Israel resumes attacks on Gaza Strip

Health agencies warned against growing danger of diseases outbreak and rising malnutrition in the Gaza Strip ahead of resumed attacks on Gaza

Israel extends detention of Al-Shifa hospital’s director by 45 days

Al-Shifa hospital director Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya and his colleagues were arrested on November 23, a day before the ceasefire came into effect. Israeli forces had continuously targeted and raided the hospital leading to the death of patients

Israeli attacks on health workers in Palestine continue

By targeting healthcare in the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces continue their decades-long aggression against the right to health of Palestinians

As medical establishments lag behind, health workers are in the forefront of demanding ceasefire in Palestine

Health workers worldwide have demanded immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, but not all medical associations are backing up their demands.

Pandemic Treaty continues to negate principles of equity and justice

Pandemic Treaty talks face hurdles as equity concerns, corporate dominance, and calls for fair health frameworks remain unaddressed

Activists expect multiple obstacles during health discussions at COP28

While health is on the agenda at the COP28 summit in the UAE, activists fear significant progress on climate and health will not be achieved due to a number of factors such as the presence of lobbyists from the fossil fuel sector

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Deadly diseases stalk millions in war-torn Sudan

Rawia Kamal, a health activist displaced after the paramilitary attacked her home, recounts the travails of being in war-torn Sudan with looming threat of diseases

Bangladesh dengue outbreak unmasks weakness of public healthcare system

The number of dengue cases has surged in Bangladesh with the disease’s pattern and severity changing and rural areas bearing the brunt. As public health facilities struggle to cope with the number of cases, patients are facing extreme financial difficulties

Greek health workers intensify protests for pay hike, more staff

Workers are demanding a significant pay rise to compensate for cuts in their real wages, made as part of structural adjustments as dictated by the European Troika

Childhood obesity, the COVID-19 pandemic, and ultra-processed foods in Brazil

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the price of healthy food, increasing consumption of cheap, poor-quality products in Brazil

Data speaks: World AIDS Day

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