Stocking Gaza’s hospitals with PPE and medicines
Al Quds Hospital in Gaza needs 10 times more PPE than it did before the pandemic
Hazem Ilian, dialysis department nurse
Hazem works as a nurse in the dialysis department at Al Quds Hospital. He oversees treatment for patients suffering from acute or chronic kidney failure. The department treats six or seven patients each day.
Hazem does whatever he can to boost the spirits of his patients while they sit through their four hour dialysis sessions. He often plays music and jokes with them. This moral support he gives patients with chronic diseases is priceless for Hazem.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the sense of achievement it gives me — and of course putting a smile on patients' faces.” — Hazem
He says health care providers have been working in the face of overwhelming difficulties for many years but are facing even graver challenges in light of the threat posed by COVID-19. Gaza appears to have been successful at containing the virus thus far, but hospitals must prepare as best they can for a potential outbreak.
Recently, Al Quds Hospital has run low on both medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE). Without PPE, the hospital cannot protect patients and health care workers from infections like COVID-19. Struggling financially, Al Quds wasn’t able to purchase the needed items.
They appealed to their long-time partner Anera for help. In response, with the support of an anonymous donor, we procured through local suppliers PPE supplies like disinfectant gel, ethyl alcohol, face masks, gloves, oxygen masks, nursing caps, shoe covers, medical gowns, and thermometers.
Safa Howar, hospital warehouse manager
Safa Howar has been a physician at Al Quds Hospital since 2001, the same year that the partnership between the hospital and Anera began. “We [in the warehouse] supervise the distribution of medicine. We work closely with donor organizations to ensure we have adequate supplies of medicines,” Dr. Howar says.
PPE and antibiotics are in high demand and scarce supply. Safa receives a list of orders from her colleagues in other departments. “We are using 10 times more of these protective items than in normal times. As much as possible, we are trying to follow all of the protective measures, but there are times when medical gloves and masks are missing from local stores,” she says. The hospital had even resorted to paying a tailor to sew non-medical grade masks as a stop-gap measure.
This month, Anera’s medical donations team has collected and procured supplies in the local market at a competitive and reasonable price to fill the shortfall in PPE supplies for 13 hospitals and clinics in Gaza.
The situation at the hospital has improved after Anera’s recent delivery of medicines and medical supplies. The procurements include the antibiotic azithromycin and bronchodilators (salbutamol inhalers and nebulizer solution). It also contains PPE supplies like disinfectant gel, ethyl alcohol, face masks, gloves, oxygen masks, nursing caps, shoe covers, medical gowns and thermometers.