Title: WHO Executive Board Urgently Reviews Health Crisis in Gaza and West Bank
In response to the mounting health crisis in Gaza and the West Bank, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board has convened for an emergency session scheduled for December 10th. The urgent meeting was requested by 15 countries alarmed by the dire situation in the region and will address crucial issues such as the need for increased medical aid and foreign healthcare workers’ access.
While the focus of the meeting will primarily be on Gaza, which has been engulfed in a relentless conflict between Hamas and Israel, the session will also tackle attacks on the health sector in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Palestinian envoy aims to empower the WHO, calling on Israel to refrain from targeting the medical sector and to allow the entry of fresh medical supplies.
To combat the escalating crisis, one proposed solution is to mobilize additional doctors from around the world. Several countries have already offered assistance, eager to contribute their expertise to support the medical needs in the region.
Nonetheless, Israel has raised concerns about the emergency session, arguing that it demonstrates double standards and disproportionate attention towards their country. They assert that Hamas has been exploiting civilian buildings, including hospitals, as shields and placing command centers and weapons inside them, making them legitimate targets.
Gaza’s hospitals are grappling with immense challenges, with only a fraction remaining operational due to Israeli bombings and a severe shortage of fuel. The WHO database reports a staggering 427 attacks on healthcare facilities in Palestinian territories since the recent conflict began, although responsibility for these attacks remains unspecified.
In addition to the direct impact of bombings, the WHO has also issued warnings about the potential spread of disease in Gaza. They caution that diseases could cause more casualties than the ongoing bombardments, with cases of diarrhoea among children skyrocketing to about 100 times normal levels.
The population of Gaza finds itself on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe, with approximately 80% of its 2.3 million residents forcibly displaced from their homes. Urgent action is needed to address the alarming health crisis in the region.
The WHO’s executive board comprises 34 members and traditionally meets in January to set the agenda for the annual assembly. Representatives from various regions, including the United States, Qatar, Senegal, Australia, and China, participate in the board’s deliberations.
As the world focuses its attention on the plight of the population in Gaza and the West Bank, the emergency session of the WHO’s executive board offers a glimmer of hope for swift action to alleviate the suffering, and prevent the situation from spiraling further out of control.
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