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Access to healthcare for children in Palestine
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  • Published on:
    Reply to letter from Professor Gorodischer and colleagues on access to health care in Palestine
    • Tony Waterston, Retired consultant paediatrician University of Newcastle
    • Other Contributors:
      • Dina Nasser, Health adviser

    We thank Professor Gorodischer and colleagues for their comments on our article on Access for Health Care for children in Palestine.
    We believe that politics and health are inextricably intertwined, and this view is shared by WHO in the Commission on Social Determinants of Health and by many commentators such as Professor David Hunter
    We consider that health is politically determined and this is evident in relation to public health issues such as the role of the tobacco industry in smoking, the role of the food industry in nutrition, and the relevance of pharmaceutical industry funding of politicians in determining health policy in the USA.
    In relation to the connection between the occupation of Palestine and the health of its population, this is not controversial but is a fact, corroborated by WHO, UN, UNRWA, the Lancet and many non-governmental organisations such as Medical Aid to the Palestinians. For example -

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Access to healthcare for children in Palestine
    • Rafael Gorodischer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
    • Other Contributors:
      • Shay Ashkenazy, MD, MSc, Professor of Pediatrics
      • Manuel Katz, MD, Head Physician, Maternal and Child Health Department,; Past President Israel Pediatric Association
      • Matitiahu Berkovitch, MD, Professor of Pediatrics
      • Shimon Barak, MD, President
      • Aviv Goldbart, MD, Professor of Pediatrics

    To the Editor,
    BMJ Open

    We concur with the authors that the health care of Palestinian children is far from desirable, and for many of them, particularly in Gaza, has even tragic consequences.

    However, the article has a clear political agenda, which is openly indicated in its last sentence. The authors chose to ignore the complex geopolitical circumstances in the area and the article is far from presenting an objective description of the situation.
    The authors mention the following providers of medical care for Palestinian children: UNRWA, Non- governmental organizations, Palestinian Red Crescent and the private sector. They fail to mention Israel as a health care provider: although following the 1993 Oslo Accord, responsibilities of health care were transferred from Israel to the Palestinian territory, every year over 160,000 Palestinians from the occupied territories receive medical treatment in Israel 1,2. Prior to the year 2005, when the Palestinian Authority took over the Gaza administration, pediatricians from the Gaza Al-Shifa

    Hospital came to the Soroka University Medical Center Pediatric Department in Beer-Sheva, Israel, for various periods of professional update, and pediatricians from the Israeli hospital periodically joined clinical rounds at the Al-Shifa Hospital Pediatric Department; often mutual friendly professional relations developed among pediatricians of both hospitals.
    We refrain from debating here the authors...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.