COVID and conflict

Abdullah Albeyatti is the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Yorkshire Faculty.

Having completed my morning clinic and witnessing first hand how well our local services have done in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine I cannot help but reflect on how our medical counterparts are doing internationally. We should all be proud of our front line staff delivering this historic vaccine roll out and count ourselves fortunate and recognise the health inequalities around us and further abroad.

It has been eye opening to see the challenges each nation has faced in trying to deliver these crucial vaccinations in order to return to some form of normality. That being said, normality for some is still a far cry from how anyone should have to live and having followed the crisis which has unfolded in Palestine in recent weeks it is sad to say that few have had it harder than them in trying to manage this once in a generation pandemic.

Our medical colleagues are overwhelmed and struggling for resources.

The recent conflict has led to the Palestinian Ministry of Health offices being bombed and the main Palestinain COVID-19 laboratory being targeted also. Our medical colleagues are overwhelmed and struggling for resources as they negotiate embargos and await the trickle of humanitarian support which comes through the Israeli checkpoints.

Managing a pandemic has been crippling for most health care services around the world such as in Italy or India. Managing a pandemic whilst receiving a constant stream of innocent casualties who were in the wrong place at the wrong time when the bombs started falling – that is unimaginable. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.

These are huge loses for the local population …. and will further their already dire healthcare situation.

Where education and literacy are at a premium, every loss of life is regrettable and should not be chalked up as a statistic. However, when colleagues such as Dr Ayman Abu Al-Ouf, Head of the Internal Medicine at the Al-Shifa Hospital and Dr Moeen al-Aloul, a neurologist, were killed, in addition to the dentistry student Shaimaa Abu al-Ouf, these are huge loses for the local population which will not have the opportunity to replace them and will further their already dire healthcare situation.

As was the RCGP’s position with the Black Lives Matter movement so it should be with the plight of innocent Palestinian civilians and those who care for them. We cannot turn a blind eye and should have fresh memories that the stance of ‘all lives matter’ is inappropriate when talking about a disproportionate use of force by someone in power.

US President Benjamin Franklin framed the position all of us should adopt, individually and on an organisational level perfectly;

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.


Featured photo by Tengyart on Unsplash


Editorial note: This article is commenting on the healthcare situation for Palestinian doctors and civilians. We reserve the right to edit or remove comments that do not engage in a respectful and courteous debate.

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