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According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), many medications and specialized, life-saving medical treatments are not available in hospitals in Gaza. The closure of the border crossings has prevented patients from leaving the Gaza Strip for treatment. The OCHA further states in its report:
– Between June and December 2007, 713 patients out of 4,074 applicants (17.5 percent) were denied permits to cross into Israel for medical treatment.
– In December 2009, 1,103 applications for permits for patients to cross Erez (a border crossing) were submitted to the Israeli Authorities. 21 percent of the applications were denied or delayed. Patients accordingly missed their hospital appointments and had to restart the referral process. In 2010, 29 patients died while awaiting referral. (See also the World Health Organization report Referral of Patients from Gaza, 2010)
– Studies conducted by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) revealed that Palestinian families suffer from stress and trauma and show high levels of depression and anxiety. Children living in areas of conflict are especially traumatized as a result of war.