UN employees providing assistance to a hospital in Gaza report a chaotic and overwhelming emergency department, describing it as a scene of carnage.
The team reported that individuals who were injured in traumatic events were receiving sutures while lying on the ground. The hospital lacks adequate pain management resources, and the emergency department is overcrowded to the point where workers must be cautious not to step on patients on the floor.
The Al-Shifa Hospital, once a crucial and prominent healthcare facility in Gaza, is currently struggling to operate efficiently. The operating rooms and other crucial services are not operational due to insufficient fuel, oxygen, specialized personnel, and supplies. The hospital is limited to providing primary trauma care and does not have any blood available for transfusions.
A team of medical professionals including doctors and nurses, along with approximately 70 volunteers, are operating in a hospital that has been described by WHO staff as facing extremely difficult conditions and requiring urgent attention.
On Saturday, WHO announced its dedication to enhancing the capabilities of Al-Shifa Hospital in the upcoming weeks. This will allow the hospital to resume basic operations, offer crucial life-saving services, and aid a community that is trapped in a cycle of death, devastation, starvation, and illness.
More medical, nursing, and support personnel are required, including emergency medical teams, to meet urgent needs. Basic humanitarian needs are also lacking as tens of thousands of displaced individuals are seeking shelter in a hospital that lacks adequate food and clean water.
At present, Al-Ahli Arab Hospital is the only hospital in north Gaza that is operating to some extent. Three other hospitals – Al-Shifa, Al Awda, and Al Sahaba Medical Complex – are functioning at a minimal level, a significant decrease from the 24 hospitals that were operational before the conflict. The World Health Organization is deeply concerned about the developments at Kamal Adwan Hospital in north Gaza, as it has been reported to be the target of a military operation.
The employees of the United Nations (UN) who work at Al-Shifa Hospital were involved in a collaborative UN task, comprised of members from various departments including the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS), and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS). Together, they provided necessary medications, surgical equipment, orthopedic supplies, anesthesia materials, and drugs to the hospital.