Israeli forces imperil Al-Shifa Medical complex, the major regional center

As the largest medical complex in the region, continuous attacks jeopardize not only the displaced and wounded but also Gaza's healthcare system

al shifa hospital in gaza
(Photos: Twitter/X)
GAZA Al-Shifa Medical Complex, one of Gaza's largest medical centers, has been under siege by Israeli Occupation Forces following a six-day blockade. This has resulted in numerous casualties and injuries among its patients and those seeking refuge. On day 40 of the siege, news had broken out that IOF were searching the complex with orders for its displaced to evacuate. اضافة اعلان

Affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Al-Shifa Complex is a government healthcare institution and the principal provider of medical services in the Gaza Strip. Its origins trace back to 1946 during the British mandate in Gaza City when it consisted of small booths offering medical care. Over time, it has evolved into the largest medical complex in the region, employing 25 percent of the healthcare workforce, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.

This expansive complex, covering an area of 45,000 square meters, is situated in the central-western part of Gaza City, overlooking Az-Zaytouna and Al-Wahda streets, and is surrounded by Al-Shifa Mosque.

It houses three specialized hospitals: Surgery Hospital, Internal Medicine Hospital, and Women and Maternity Hospital, with a neonatal care unit. Additionally, it includes essential facilities such as an emergency department, intensive care unit, radiology, blood bank, and planning unit, boasting a capacity of 500-700 beds.

Catering to the residents of Gaza City and individuals from other cities lacking specialized hospitals, Al-Shifa provides diverse medical and therapeutic services. In 2020, the hospital treated nearly 460,000 citizens, with an additional 250,000 citizens receiving healthcare services in the emergency department. Notably, the hospital conducted 25,000 surgical operations, 69 kidney dialysis sessions, and 13,000 childbirths during that year.

Employing approximately 1,500 staff, including over 500 doctors, 760 nurses, 32 pharmacists, and 200 administrative personnel, the Al-Shifa Medical Complex has a rich history. Following the British mandate, it became part of the Egyptian administration for about two decades. In 1967, it fell under Israeli occupation after Israel gained control of the Gaza Strip. Throughout the First Intifada in December 1987, the hospital served as a major confrontation point between citizens and Israeli forces.

With the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, the hospital came under its administration, receiving support from Japan and Europe for development initiatives. This support led to the construction of new buildings and the expansion of existing ones, transforming Al-Shifa into a comprehensive medical complex with multiple specialized hospitals.

As of 2023, the external structure of the hospital requires renovation due to the impact of the siege. Parts of the concrete are falling from the ceilings and walls, yet the renovation process faces obstacles. The blockade impedes the acquisition of necessary materials, and financial support is lacking, rendering the renovation efforts unfeasible.

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