Status of CF Patients in Gaza Strip

Thursday, January 1, 2009
According to the Manager for CF Palestine, all 53 cystic fibrosis patients are alive, though it might be difficult to call them "well". As the sixth day of Israeli and Hamas attacks closes, none of the CF patients in Gaza have been killed due to bombings, and there are no known deaths of Israeli CF patients in Israel from Hamas rocket attacks.

While the fact that no deaths have occurred due to the bombing campaign, the latest crisis in the Gaza Strip highlights a very tragic situation. Patients in the Gaza Strip are complaining of "frequent coughing, dehydration, huge appetite but poor weight and growth," according to Mr. S. (full name withheld), the Manager of Cystic Fibrosis Palestine.

CF Palestine is severely lacking in basic drugs and supplements that cystic fibrosis patients in the developed world, by and large, find easily accessible. Enzyme supplements, such as Creon 10 and 25, which would support weight gain, are virtually non-existent. Augmentin, a form of penicillin would treat the majority of chronic coughing in patients but is also in very short supply. Other items which would support better health for CF patients in the Gaza Strip are also unavailable: Nebulizers (for airway clearance), anti-inflammatory drugs, and decent milk (a fatty supply of good minerals for growth).

It is impossible to know at this time whether the proposed 48-hour cease fire, which Israel has currently dismissed, would allow any of the necessary drugs into Gaza or whether the doctors in charge of medical care in Gaza would be able to distribute the medications to such a limited number of patients.