Palestinian Minister of Health, Mai Alkaila

Palestinian Minister of Health warns possible blackout puts patients’ lives at risk

Ramallah (QNN) – Palestinian Minister of Health, Mai Alkaila, warned late yesterday that a possible outage of power by the Israeli Electricity Company in the West Bank districts of Ramallah and Bethlehem, may put the lives of dozens of patients at risk, as such outage may cause damage to refrigerated medications.

Alkaila said in a statement quoted by WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, that such blackout may also cause harm to a large segment of the population in these governorates, as it affects the validity of hundreds of products and food parcels that require refrigeration or freezing.

In addition, she added, the power outage “may affect medications and vaccines kept in the refrigerators of the health centers and health care clinics.”

“Any power outage on the refrigerators and vaccines of the health centers will damage them and affect their effectiveness, especially those medicines kept at low temperatures. Some of them require permanent freezing during the storing period,” Alkaila continued.

She said any power outage by IEC will certainly affect the validity of children’s vaccines, “as most vaccines are stored at temperatures between 2-8°C, and there are a number of vaccines that need freezing at temperatures as low as minus 20°C, such as the polio vaccine.”

“One of the most important factors in responding to the effectiveness of vaccines is the cold chain of storing them. This means that administering vaccines that have not been kept in proper temperature will result in them being useless,” the Health Minister emphasized.

She pointed out that JDECO has exerted great efforts to ensure the provision of electricity to the health centers in the cities, but that does not apply to all health centers, as JDECO will not be able to provide all health centers with electricity as a result of the Israeli blackout. “This threatens the lives of all patients who use the services of those centers, especially those of the serious cases.”

Alkaila stressed that the power outage will not only affect patients and medicines, but also goes beyond to refrigerators at homes, shops and shopping malls. “Such outage means that food items that need to be kept at low temperatures are at risk of deterioration.”

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