Medicine: A Vital Product Gone Too Fast in Gaza

May 7, 2007 ANERA
Categories:
Health, In-Kind Medical and Relief
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Mostafa Ghosain, director of ANERA's warehouse in Gaza, does an inventory of newly arrived medicine from AmeriCares. Mostafa Ghosain, director of ANERA's warehouse in Gaza, does an inventory of newly arrived medicine from AmeriCares.

When Samah Mohanna graduated from pharmacy school five years ago, she wanted to help children. When she got a job working at a local clinic, she met Azmi who had the same passion. They both discovered a severe shortage of medications in Gaza, especially antibiotics.

The high rate of unemployment and poor economic situation means many households cannot afford even basic medications. In addition, Gaza is cut off from the world because the main crossing points are closed.

Azmi Mekki, pharmacy assistant at the clinic, said: “Medications can’t get into Gaza. We place a lot of orders and wait for them to arrive. But they never come. The result is that basic medical supplies are not available or in very short supply most of the time.”

Despite Gaza closures, ANERA still manages to bring in vital medicines.

ANERA was lucky to receive an AmeriCares shipment with vital supplies in June 2007. Mostafa Ghosain, director of ANERA’s warehouse said, “The shipment arrived in the middle of a critical shortage of medical supplies. It was full of assorted antibiotics and multivitamins, desperately needed in Gaza.” One of the products was Augmentin. In two weeks, it was gone.”

In local pharmacies, a bottle of Augmentin costs more than $7, which families cannot afford to pay. At the clinics, it is dispensed free or for a nominal charge.

“This product is especially beneficial in treating sick children under the age of two,” said Samah, the pharmacist. “Augmentin comes in a bottle containing a 50ml suspension. Among other things, it treats a wide range of bacterial infections of the upper respiratory system, which is common in Gaza.

Augmetin is very useful and vital product in Gaza where children are especially vulnerable to infection at the beginning of winter and when they go back to school. According to Mostafa, Augmentin is frequently used to treat infections, especially throat infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, urinary tract infections, skin diseases and infections in the mouth.

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