Mohamed Bahloul, 20, is a regular visitor to Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, where he receives hemodialysis treatment.
“I’ve been suffering from kidney failure for 10 years,” he told us, when we met him in the hospital’s kidney dialysis department – where Gaza’s fuel shortage is having an acute impact upon patients.
“Recently, the electricity cut for many hours. I couldn’t have my treatment, then I felt very bad and had difficulty breathing.”
Mohamed, who has problems with his physical growth, due to his illness, lives 14 kilometers from the hospital. In the northern Gaza Strip, there are no dialysis machines, forcing vulnerable patients to make difficult journeys to Al-Shifa. Delays in reaching the hospital can mean they have to wait for hours for one of the few hemodialysis machines to become free.
“We want machines in our area in the north, so that over 100 patients can save time and fatigue instead of traveling this distance and paying transportation fees,” said Mohamed’s mother, who told us that sometimes her son is too tired to walk. “Most of us are of poor families and can barely afford such expenses.”
For fellow patient Nafiz Abu Jidian, regular treatment at the hospital means a round-trip of over two hours on foot.
“I have suffered from kidney failure for seventeen years,” said Nafiz. “I can’t afford transportation. Due to my illness, I can’t work and my children are still students.
“It’s the problem of so many. We need some support to cover needs such as regular medicine, which costs 500 Shekels a month (150 USD). That’s why I have lots of debts from the pharmacy.”