Health and Medical Facilities Status in Gaza and the West Bank
What is the state of Gaza's healthcare system ravaged by siege and war?
The degradation of Palestinian health and access to adequate medical facilities and essential medications is a longstanding issue.
Six weeks into its war on Gaza, Israel’s attacks on hospitals have become a recurring theme of the conflict. At least 21 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are completely out of service. A top World Health Organization official described the hospital situation in Gaza as “catastrophic”, saying most are no longer functioning and what remains will likely be overwhelmed by thousands of births expected in the next month.
Taped on Nov. 20, 2023
Moderator: Hubert Murray - Architect, Artist
Bram Wispelwey, MD, MPH
Dr. Bram Wispelwey is a co-founder of Health for Palestine, a community organizing initiative in Palestinian refugee camps that seeks to maximize wellness and address health barriers via social accompaniment and creative integration with existing facilities. He is an Associate Physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and he also teaches at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Bram’s research, education, and implementation efforts focus on anti-racist strategies to address hospital admission inequities, community health worker impact, and settler colonial determinants of health. Before the start of his medical career, he pursued LGBTQ-rights activism, which informs his health approach at the bedside and in advocacy. Bram is Senior Technical Lead with Partners In Health United States and a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Fellows for Health Equity.
Alice Rothchild, MD
Dr. Rothchild graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1970 with a BA in psychology and subsequently attended Boston University School of Medicine, class of 1974, followed by a medical internship at Lincoln Hospital in the south Bronx and an obstetrics and gynecology residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
She developed an interest in progressive politics in the 1960s and 70s starting with campus opposition to the Vietnam War and moving on to her discovery of feminism and health reform movements while in medical school and residency. She turned much of her non-medical focus to understanding and writing about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and its relationship to US foreign policy and American Jewry. She worked with a number of local and national groups and is now active with Jewish Voice for Peace on the national level as a member of the JVP Health Advisory Council and on the board of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, Just World Educational, and We Are Not Numbers.
In 2007, Pluto Press published her book, Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience, with a second edition in 2010 and translations into German and Hebrew. In 2013 she released a documentary film, Voices Across the Divide which co-won 2013 Audience Award at the Boston Palestine Film Festival. In 2014 Just World Books published her second book: On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion and in 2017 Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.
Dr. Rothchild writes and lectures widely, blogs regularly, has written numerous articles and contributed to a number of anthologies including: Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation; Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Pales-tine; We are Not Numbers – Junge Stimmen aus Gaza, (published in German); and Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation.