July 26, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3120

Gaza Health Ministry Officials Complain that Medical Donations Supplied by Aid Convoys Are Past Their Expiry Date or Otherwise Useless

July 26, 2010
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 3120

Following are excerpts from an Al-Jazeera TV report on the medical supplies delivered by aid convoys to Gaza. The report aired on July 20, 2010.

Reporter: "This is the warehouse of the Ministry of Health in Gaza. To visitors it seems as if everything is fine, but officials here think otherwise. These are medicines donated by various countries and institutions. Much of it has become a burden rather than a blessing."

Gaza Health Ministry official Mounir Al-Boursh: "This is Tamiflu, for swine flu, or H1N1. This is two million dollars worth of aid, but the epidemic is over, and unfortunately, some countries get rid of their stocks..."

Reporter: "Munir Al-Boursh, the head of the donations department in the Health Ministry in Gaza, says that only 30% of the medical aid donated after the war benefited the hospitals and health services."

Mounir Al-Boursh: "A certain country sent ten truckloads of medicine, accompanied by an official delegation, but all these medicines were past their expiration date."

Reporter: "We asked about these dialysis units, standing in a corner of the warehouse, which had arrived in one of the aid convoys.

"Why are they not taken to the hospitals?"

Gaza Health Ministry official Bassam Barhoum: "These devices were past their expected life span when we got them. In other words, all operational hours were used up in their country of origin."

Reporter: "These are disintegrating machines, and medicines that have passed their expiry date by months and even years. They arrive here without any supervision, under the slogan of breaking the siege on Gaza, the population of which is grateful for any initiative to support it. But here, we face a different story with regard to donations."

Mounir Al-Boursh: "These burial shrouds were donated to us. This shroud is 125 cm long. It is deplorable that our Arab brothers are sending burial shrouds for the children of Gaza."

Reporter: "While they await the medicines that they really need, the workers are busy loading these medicines, on their way to the garbage dumps rather than to hospitals. In Gaza, the decomposition of these medicines creates a huge problem, in the absence of incinerators or designated places. Even if the sick are saved from this medicine, the environment will definitely not be spared their perils and catastrophic effects, above and below the ground."

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