WHO / GAZA HEALTH EMERGENCIES

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15-Nov-2023 00:08:00
The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the Organization “continues to call for the hostages to be released unharmed. We are deeply concerned for their health and well-being, just as we are concerned for the health and well-being of the people of Gaza, which is becoming more precarious every hour.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / GAZA HEALTH EMERGENCIES
TRT: 8:00
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 15 NOVEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“Yesterday, I met for the second time with families of Israeli hostages being held in Gaza. I heard and felt their pain and heartache. WHO continues to call for the hostages to be released unharmed. We are deeply concerned for their health and well-being, just as we are concerned for the health and well-being of the people of Gaza, which is becoming more precarious every hour.”
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“For the past three days, WHO has not received updates on the number of deaths or injuries in Gaza, which makes it harder for us to evaluate the functioning of the health system. What we know is that only one quarter of Gaza’s hospitals are still functioning – 26 out of 36 hospitals are now closed, either due to damage, attacks or because they have run out of fuel. Patients, health workers and ambulances are not able to enter or exit some hospitals. Prior to the conflict there were around 3,500 hospital beds across Gaza; today there are an estimated 1,400. And there are many more patients than beds. Doctors and nurses are having to make impossible decisions on who lives, and who dies.”
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative, Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT):
“What we have been informed, is that 34 premature children are still alive, that’s the latest report and there were 39 to begin with. We were informed 82 bodies were buried in mass graves today. Remaining 80 dead bodies remain unburied. We got informed haemodialysis has done 45 patients for two hours only. That there's no central oxygen, water, or fuel.”
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative, Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT):
“We are informed there are 633 patients, 116 Doctors and a total medical which includes admin staff of 500. And also there’s estimation that there are still around 3,000-4,000 IDPs, it might be less.”
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“Israel’s military incursion into Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City is totally unacceptable. Hospitals are not battlegrounds. We are extremely worried for the safety of staff and patients. Protecting them is paramount. WHO has lost contact with health workers at Al-Shifa hospital. But one thing is clear: under international humanitarian law, health facilities, health workers, ambulances and patients must be safeguarded and protected against all acts of war. Not only that, but they must be actively protected during military planning.”
11. Wide shot, press briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“Even if health facilities are used for military purposes, the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality always apply. The safety of patients and staff, as well as the integrity of the health care systems in the wider community, are of paramount concern. International humanitarian law must be respected.”
13. Wide shot, press briefing room
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Steven Solomon, Principal Legal Officer, WHO:
“International humanitarian law is clear. Healthcare facilities should not be attacked or used to commit acts harmful to the enemy. Even if they are used for military purposes, healthcare facilities are never without protection under humanitarian law. The principles of precaution, of distinction and proportionality always apply.”
15. Wide shot, press briefing room
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“The most pressing needs are for a ceasefire, the sustained opening of the Rafah crossing, safe movement for humanitarian aid and workers, and for supplies of electricity and fuel to be restored. Electricity is needed to power desalination and sewage treatment plants, hospitals and telecommunications, and fuel is needed to distribute aid. We might be able to get aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing, but without fuel, we cannot get it to where it needs to go.”
17. Wide shot, press briefing room
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Teresa Zakaria, Technical Officer, Health Emergency Interventions, WHO:
“The Occupied Palestinian Territory was already suffering from lack of adequate medical services. This has only worsened since the 7th October. Now in terms of what we are aware of, as of the 13th November, we know that over 930 trucks of aid has entered the Rafah, so has gone into the Gaza Strip.”
19. Wide shot, press briefing room
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Teresa Zakaria, Technical Officer, Health Emergency Interventions, WHO:
“Even if we bring in as many trucks with medical supplies, it will never be sufficient to actually meet the health needs of the population in Gaza.”
21. Wide shot, press briefing room
22. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought the problem of social isolation and loneliness to widespread public attention, affecting all countries, communities and ages. But the problem existed long before the pandemic, and it continues for many people throughout the world.”
23. Wide shot, press briefing room
24. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“Around the world, there are many initiatives to promote social connection in different communities, but we don’t yet know which ones work best.”
25. Wide shot, press briefing room
26. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General:
“That is why, today, I'm proud to announce the launch of WHO’s Commission on Social Connection. This is the first global initiative to tackle the epidemic of loneliness.”
27. Wide shot, press briefing room
28. SOUNDBITE (English) Chido Mpemba, Co-Chair Commission on Social Connection:
“I believe it is imperative to redefine the narratives surrounding loneliness, particularly for vulnerable populations, excluded by the digital divide. And the power of connection necessities, collaborations across sectors, such as civil society, Governments, businesses and political leaders.”
29. Wide shot, press briefing room
30. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Vivek Murthy, Co-Chair Commission on Social Connection:
“Social disconnection, this increases the risk of serious physical health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, dementia and premature death. Loneliness and isolation also increase the risk of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and suicide. And social disconnection has now become a key driver of the broader mental health crisis that we are seeing in this world. A crisis in which nearly one in eight individuals worldwide are living with a mental health disorder.”
31. Wide shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the Organization “continues to call for the hostages to be released unharmed. We are deeply concerned for their health and well-being, just as we are concerned for the health and well-being of the people of Gaza, which is becoming more precarious every hour.”

Speaking to reporters today (15 Nov), Tedros said, “For the past three days, WHO has not received updates on the number of deaths or injuries in Gaza, which makes it harder for us to evaluate the functioning of the health system.”

He continued, “What we know is that only one quarter of Gaza’s hospitals are still functioning – 26 out of 36 hospitals are now closed, either due to damage, attacks or because they have run out of fuel. Patients, health workers and ambulances are not able to enter or exit some hospitals.”

Tedros added, “Prior to the conflict there were around 3,500 hospital beds across Gaza; today there are an estimated 1,400. And there are many more patients than beds. Doctors and nurses are having to make impossible decisions on who lives, and who dies.”

WHO’s Representative in Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Richard Peeperkorn, spoke to reporters via video link.

He said, “What we have been informed, is that 34 premature children are still alive, that’s the latest report and there were 39 to begin with. We were informed 82 bodies were buried in mass graves today. Remaining 80 dead bodies remain unburied. We got informed haemodialysis has done 45 patients for two hours only. That there's no central oxygen, water, or fuel.”

Peeperkorn also said, “We are informed there are 633 patients, 116 Doctors and a total medical which includes admin staff of 500. And also there’s estimation that there are still around 3,000-4,000 IDPs, it might be less.”

WHO Director-General also said, “Israel’s military incursion into Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City is totally unacceptable. Hospitals are not battlegrounds. We are extremely worried for the safety of staff and patients. Protecting them is paramount.”

Tedros added, “WHO has lost contact with health workers at Al-Shifa hospital. But one thing is clear: under international humanitarian law, health facilities, health workers, ambulances and patients must be safeguarded and protected against all acts of war. Not only that, but they must be actively protected during military planning.”

The Director-General also said, “Even if health facilities are used for military purposes, the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality always apply. The safety of patients and staff, as well as the integrity of the health care systems in the wider community, are of paramount concern. International humanitarian law must be respected.”
Steven Solomon, Principal Legal Officer at WHO told reporters, “ “International humanitarian law is clear. Healthcare facilities should not be attacked or used to commit acts harmful to the enemy. Even if they are used for military purposes, healthcare facilities are never without protection under humanitarian law. The principles of precaution, of distinction and proportionality always apply.”

WHO Director-General Tedros reiterated, “The most pressing needs are for a ceasefire, the sustained opening of the Rafah crossing, safe movement for humanitarian aid and workers, and for supplies of electricity and fuel to be restored.”

He added, “Electricity is needed to power desalination and sewage treatment plants, hospitals and telecommunications, and fuel is needed to distribute aid. We might be able to get aid into Gaza through the Rafah crossing, but without fuel, we cannot get it to where it needs to go.”

WHO’s Dr Teresa Zakaria said, “The Occupied Palestinian Territory was already suffering from lack of adequate medical services. This has only worsened since the 7th October. Now in terms of what we are aware of, as of the 13th November, we know that over 930 trucks of aid has entered the Rafah, so has gone into the Gaza Strip.”

She added, “Even if we bring in as many trucks with medical supplies, it will never be sufficient to actually meet the health needs of the population in Gaza.”

On COVID-19, Director-General Tedros said, “The COVID-19 pandemic brought the problem of social isolation and loneliness to widespread public attention, affecting all countries, communities and ages. But the problem existed long before the pandemic, and it continues for many people throughout the world.”

He also said, “Around the world, there are many initiatives to promote social connection in different communities, but we don’t yet know which ones work best.”
The Director-General announced the launch of WHO’s Commission on Social Connection today.

“This is the first global initiative to tackle the epidemic of loneliness,” Tedros said.

Chido Mpemba, Co-Chair Commission on Social Connection, told reporters that “it is imperative to redefine the narratives surrounding loneliness, particularly for vulnerable populations, excluded by the digital divide. And the power of connection necessities, collaborations across sectors, such as civil society, Governments, businesses and political leaders.”

Dr Vivek Murthy, also the Co-Chair Commission on Social Connection said, “Social disconnection, this increases the risk of serious physical health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, dementia and premature death. Loneliness and isolation also increase the risk of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and suicide. And social disconnection has now become a key driver of the broader mental health crisis that we are seeing in this world. A crisis in which nearly one in eight individuals worldwide are living with a mental health disorder.”
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