In the eight months following the 50-day conflict in Gaza in summer 2014, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of health facilities damaged during the course of the conflict has made only moderate progress due to the shortage of construction materials in Gaza and shortfalls in funding.
According to the Detailed Needs Assessment and Recovery Strategy for the health sub-sector, 13 health structures belonging to public and private health providers were destroyed and 104 were damaged during the conflict, comprising 20 hospitals, 57 clinics, 29 pharmacies, seven ambulance stations and laboratories, and four drug warehouses. The cost of repairing, reequipping and, in some cases, rebuilding has been estimated at US$24 million, excluding other economic losses and development expenditures.
The Ministry of Health (MoH), the major health provider in Gaza, had nine hospitals and 44 primary health clinics affected to some degree by material damage, according to the UNDP/WHO/MoH damage assessment. This ranged from minor damage to total destruction, at a cost of US$6.32 million to restore facilities to pre-conflict standards. Nine donors have contributed to the repairs and development work of all nine damaged hospitals and for 36 of the 44 damaged clinics, including the rebuilding of five clinics that were totally destroyed.
However, the rehabilitation and new development work for seven of the MoH hospitals has been slowed or stopped due to the unavailability of construction materials. Rehabilitation work began on Shifa, Beit Hanoun, Durra, al Aqsa and Najjar hospitals, funded by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) at a cost of US$1.4 million, but work was forced to stop due to the shortage of materials. Construction work on Shifa, Nasser and the Paediatric Specialist hospitals, funded by Jordan, the Islamic Development Bank, Malaysia, UNDP and local contributions, intended for the construction of neonatal units, labs and an emergency department, has also been halted pending the delivery of building materials.
Work on 25 MoH clinics has been completed, but 12 clinics face problems due to unavailability of construction materials, and seven MoH clinics still require funding to cover repairs. Funds are still needed to cover an adequate supply of medicines (US$14 million), medical equipment (US$5.8 million), spare parts (US$1 million) and fuel costs (US$1 million) for one year.
* This piece originally appeared in OCHA’s April 2015 Humanitarian Bulletin.