As of 7 December 2023, the World Health Organization reports that 17,487 Palestinians have been killed in more than two months of bombardment on Gaza, with a large proportion of them children. The situation is dire, and as Public Health professionals we are extremely concerned at the toll this is having on Gaza’s population.
Infrastructure to support public health is on its knees. Hospitals, clinics, places of worship, schools, bakeries, and refugee camps have been targeted.
Thousands of people have been displaced and are unable to escape the violence and find a place to shelter. Aid workers and journalists have been killed. Hundreds of families have been completely wiped out.
Hospitals are running out of fuel and essential supplies and almost half of them have been damaged so badly they cannot function. People are having surgery without anaesthetics. Children are having surgery without anaesthetics. Children have been made homeless and orphaned. They are experiencing horrors that no child should have to experience.
Those who have somehow managed to survive the bombs are struggling with lack of access to water, food, electricity and basic hygiene. This humanitarian crisis is also a public health crisis.
We—along with the United Nations, World Health Organization, Médecins sans Frontières, and others—urge the UK Government to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. To stop the bombardment of people with nowhere to escape to. To stop the suffering that people are having to endure, and to avoid dehydration, starvation and death from avoidable diseases and treatable injuries. This must happen urgently, so that the situation does not get worse. We also call on the UK Government and partners to work to ensure adequate aid reaches people in Gaza that meets their physical and mental needs.
The undersigned Public Health Specialty Registrars:
Xenia Koumi, Public Health Specialty Registrar, London
Dr Lena Al-Shammari, Public Health Specialty Registrar, London
Dr Jamie Smyth, Public Health Specialty Registrar, London
Kerry Littleford, Public Health Specialty Registrar, London
Kazim Beebeejaun, Public Health Specialty Registrar, London
Katherine Körner, Public Health Specialty Registrar, London
Dr Ciaran Kennedy, Public Health Specialty Registrar, Birmingham
(Over 100 public health professionals, have signed in a personal capacity.)