The CJPME Foundation (a registered Canadian charity), the PSAC Social Justice Fund and their allies are working with the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) to help provide sustainable oxygen production for east Gaza medical facilities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need in Gaza for medical oxygen, a need that was already unmet before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. A Canadian international relief organization, the IDRF is working with local non-profit partners to purchase and install a new oxygen plant at the Hayfa Medical Hospital (HMH). The new plant will provide medical oxygen to the hospital itself and surrounding medical facilities in need. The "Help Gaza Breathe" campaign will raise a portion of the money required for the required "oxygen plant." The project will receive money from other sources in parallel.
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The Gaza Strip is a 365 km² territory in the southeast Mediterranean containing over 2 million people (50% children and 75% refugees) under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. The World Bank recently described Gaza’s economy as being in ‘freefall’ with rapidly worsening socio-economic indicators: unemployment is at 55%, more than half of families (57%) live below the poverty line, and 68% are food insecure. The UN has described the situation as a chronic emergency and a protracted human dignity crisis.
The current spike in COVID-19 cases is stretching the capacity of Gaza’s beleaguered health system. High population density and pervasive poverty mean that the rate of infections and hospitalizations continues to increase despite nightly curfews and the closure of schools, universities, and mosques. While preparations for a national vaccination plan are underway, thousands require immediate, life-saving medical aid involving oxygen.
This project will support critical oxygen shortages in eastern Gaza where there is currently no medical oxygen plant available. The HMH currently relies on filling oxygen tubes from a local factory, and is unable to consistently provide the necessary oxygen to fully supply all its oxygen-dependent equipment and patients. This HMH is the largest hospital in eastern Gaza with, among other needs, 2 operational surgical rooms and numerous ventilators.
The project seeks to eliminate oxygen shortages between Palestinian hospitals and medical facilities in east Gaza. In quantitative terms, the project has three objectives:
- Purchase and installation of an oxygen plant (i.e. oxygen compressor, filling unit, tanks, etc.) with the capacity of producing 900 liters of liquid oxygen per turn. Each turn is approximately 3.5 hours. (1 liquid liter = 150 liters of gas, so a total of 135,000 gas liters per turn.) The purchase will include:
- Purchase and installation of the oxygen plant
- Purchase and installation of filling unit, to fill oxygen tubes for offsite delivery
- Purchase of oxygen tubes for storage
- Provision of more than 650 liters per minute of pure oxygen for thousands of patients located in east Gaza (i.e. making use of the full output of the oxygen plant)
- Supplying pure oxygen to more than 5 medical facilities reducing costs by more than 50%.
Direct beneficiaries will include:
- Thousands of patients admitted and treated at the HMH, including COVID-19 patients in need of immediate life-saving treatment. The HMH current treats 8,000 – 12,000 patients per month.
- Hundreds of medical staff at the HMH who prescribe and provide treatments involving oxygen.
- The 5 additional medical facilities and their patients who will see costs reduced as they are supplied by the oxygen plant.