Monday 29 January 2024

Diabetic children in Gaza


On January 24th the UN humanitarian relief coordinator for Gaza confirmed that Israeli authorities have blocked entry of insulin pens for diabetic children there.
Eylon Levy responded to this with “This is just made up. Israel has placed NO LIMITS on the entry of medicines and medical supplies into Gaza, and has facilitated that on a large scale.”
Even if the UN coordinator is lying the treatment of diabetes is not just dependent on a supply of insulin pens and insulin. Controlling diabetes means managing the health of the whole body. This necessitates a primary care provider, an endocrinologist, a diabetes care and education specialist and family or close friends able to understand and coordinate the child's diabetic care.
Gaza historically had 36 hospitals, but 85% of the territory's 2.3 million people are now displaced, and that includes health workers, doctors, nurses, surgeons and administrative staff.
I dread to think about the fate of diabetic children in the region with or without their pens. I was a co-founder of War Child at the time of the siege of Sarajevo in 1992/4 and helped take insulin into the city. We had to make sure that our insulin was kept refrigerated en route and that we were able to make contact with the children’s hospital there. You can ‘facilitate’ the entry of medicines, but without specialist care and oversight it is meaningless. Death becomes a certainty.