1. Gaza health crisis
2. Humanitarian aid Gaza
3. War impact public health
4. UNRWA Gaza support
5. Saudi Arabia Gaza relief

The war and the resulting health crisis have remained a central cause of suffering in the besieged Gaza Strip. Despite the global attention to the conflict’s political and military dimensions, the far-reaching public health emergency stemming from it often receives less coverage. A recent editorial in the Saudi Medical Journal, authored by Fahdah F. Alokaily, sheds light on the chronic state of medical distress and the extraordinary challenges faced by residents due to the protracted war in Gaza (“War and Health Crisis in Gaza.” Saudi Med J, vol. 45, no. 1, Jan. 2024, doi:10.15537/smj.2023.44.1.20240012).

The latest skirmishes have compounded the dire health situation, characterized by critical shortages of medical supplies, compromised healthcare infrastructure, and a fractured healthcare system. This article provides an in-depth examination of the humanitarian health effects of the conflict by weaving together scholarly insights, expert commentaries, and the latest developments on the ground.

Escalating Health Emergency Amid Conflict

War, as many experts argue, should be treated as a public health emergency (Goto et al., The Lancet). The Gaza Strip has become emblematic of this dire situation, where ongoing hostilities have far exceeded the realm of strategic confrontations, bleeding into every aspect of civilian life, particularly health and well-being. Chronic conditions are exacerbated by the immediacy of war injuries, while mental health issues surge in the shadow of unending violence.

Humanitarian Response in the Face of Hardship

Efforts to address the healthcare crisis in Gaza have come from various quarters. However, the delivery of humanitarian aid has met with numerous obstacles. For example, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has made numerous calls for unimpeded and safe access to deliver much-needed medical aid and supplies to the region (UN).

Saudi Arabia recently dispatched its 32nd relief plane to the Gaza Strip, in a bid to lessen the healthcare and humanitarian plight of its residents (ArabNews). Such acts of solidarity reflect a broader recognition of the crisis and the critical need for international assistance.

Examining Healthcare Challenges

Through analysis of various sources and the latest reports, we can gain insights into the multifaceted health crisis in Gaza. The healthcare system, already struggling due to a decade-long blockade, has been further weakened by successive conflicts.

Infrastructure Damage and Medical Supply Shortages

Repeated bombardments have led to significant damage to healthcare facilities and the destruction of essential infrastructure. This has precipitated a severe shortage of medical supplies and equipment, leaving many Gazans without access to necessary treatment.

Rising Casualty Toll and Treatment Capacity

The increasing number of casualties from periodic escalations has overwhelmed the existing medical facilities. With limited capacity to treat complex injuries, many patients are left with suboptimal care or must seek treatment outside the enclave, often facing insurmountable barriers.

Power Outages and Water Crisis

Frequent power outages and fuel shortages have disrupted medical services, including critical life-saving equipment. Moreover, the war has aggravated the already perilous water and sanitation crisis in Gaza, compounding the risk of waterborne diseases and compromising hygiene standards in medical settings.

Mental Health and Psychological Trauma

The psychological trauma of the ongoing conflict and its resultant uncertainties has heightened the need for mental health services. However, resources for psychological support are scarce, and mental health awareness is hampered by stigma and the prioritization of immediate physical injuries.

Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases

Immunization programs and routine healthcare have been interrupted, increasing the risk of communicable disease outbreaks. Additionally, the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension has deteriorated, as the focus has shifted to handling trauma cases.

International Solidarity and Future Outlook

The outpouring of international aid, as seen with Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian flights, reflects a sense of global responsibility towards the civilians caught in the crossfire (ArabNews). Experts call for sustained attention and long-term strategies to deal with the health repercussions of this war (Hopkins John’s, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health).

As agencies and governments assess the situation, the need for a durable ceasefire and peaceful resolution remains at the forefront. Ensuring continuous access to medical aid, rebuilding healthcare infrastructure, and addressing the diverse health needs of the population are steps that demand immediate attention.

Looking ahead, the emphasis must be on fostering resilience within Gaza’s healthcare system. This includes investing in local healthcare capacity, supporting mental health initiatives, and formulating comprehensive public health strategies to mitigate future crises.

Enduring Amid Adversity

Fahdah F. Alokaily’s editorial in the Saudi Medical Journal captures the resolute spirit of Gazans, who continue to endure despite the crippling circumstances imposed by war. The healthcare professionals on the frontlines, often risking their lives, embody this indomitable will to persevere.


The war in Gaza has been a stark reminder of how inextricably linked health and conflict are. Addressing the health crisis requires a multifaceted and sustained international effort, coupled with the pursuit of peace and stability. While articles such as Alokaily’s serve as vital platforms for awareness, it is through collective action and commitment to humanity that real change can be achieved.


1. Goto R, Guerrero APS, Speranza M, Fung D, Paul C, Skokauskas N. “War is a public health emergency.” The Lancet, [Updated 2022; accessed 2023 Dec 7]. Available from:
2. Hopkins John’s. “The humanitarian health effects of the Israel-Hamas war among civilians in Gaza.” Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, [Updated 2023; accessed 2023 Dec 7]. Available from:
3. UN. “UNRWA calls for unimpeded and safe access to deliver much needed humanitarian aid.” [Updated 2023; 2023 Dec 7]. Available from:
4. ArabNews. “Saudi Arabia sends 32nd relief plane to Gaza Strip.” [Updated 2023; accessed 2023 Dec 7]. Available from:
5. Alokaily, Fahdah F. “War and Health Crisis in Gaza.” Saudi Medical Journal, vol. 45, no. 1, Jan. 2024, pp. 9-9, doi:10.15537/smj.2023.44.1.20240012.

The struggle in Gaza is not just about survival in the face of conflict but also about the relentless quest for a semblance of normalcy and the ability to live in good health. As the world watches and responds, these insights and actions form the crux of hope that sustains the health and well-being of millions caught in turmoil.