The challenges and our reponse
Gaza’s population of 2 million resides in a politically tense, 25-mile long, 6-mile wide strip of land on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Passed from Egyptian to Israeli and later Palestinian administrative control over the past 60 years, the de-facto self-governing Palestinian territory is home to a severe and long-running humanitarian crisis.
After a period of relative calm following the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, the security and political situation in Gaza deteriorated significantly. According to the World Bank, the economy is in free fall, with poverty, unemployment and food insecurity on the rise—as are other core drivers of humanitarian needs.
According to the United Nations, 46% of Gaza’s population lives below the poverty line, while and an estimated 62% of households are food-insecure. Some 1.5 million women, children and men need humanitarian assistance and face severe restrictions on access to healthcare and protection services. Hampered by the restricted movement of people and goods, limited staffing, inconsistent payment of salaries and shortages of medicine, the health system relies heavily on humanitarian actors to provide basic medical services.
International Medical Corps has worked in Gaza since 2008, providing emergency medical, mental health and psychosocial services. In 2009, International Medical Corps established mental health and psychosocial support programs for vulnerable Palestinians, integrating mental health services into primary healthcare services while focusing on capacity-building. In the aftermath of the 2014 conflict, we implemented emergency response activities in 26 hard-to-reach areas; in 2016, we helped to manage USAID’s Gaza 2020: Health Matters project, focusing on emergency preparedness and response, and primary and secondary healthcare, serving more than 30,000 people through the life of the project.
Thanks to generous funding by the Shefa Fund, we will be providing medical assistance in Gaza starting in November 2020—including the deployment of mobile medical teams (MMTs)—reaching some 10,000 people in need.
Our current work includes the following.
In collaboration with a local non-governmental organization, we provide primary healthcare services to marginalized and underserved communities across the Gaza strip through two MMTs, increasing access to primary healthcare services and integrated psychosocial support.
We provide emergency supplies and equipment to three local hospitals.
Emergency Preparedness Training
We train hospital staff and other health workers in emergency preparedness. We also support operative and post-operative services at three local hospitals by providing training in patient safety and infection prevention and control.