In the aftermath of the Gaza massacre on 27 Dec 2008, Malaysian individuals and NGOs united to champion the Palestinian cause. Viva Palestina Malaysia represents a coalition that cuts across racial, religious and political lines. It reflects the humanitarian nature of the crisis in Palestine, which must be shouldered by all responsible citizens of the world.

Our vision is to ‘effectuate a just, equitable, prompt and sustainable resolution to the conflict in Palestine

VPM works closely with the Malaysian government’s ministries and agencies, local and international NGOs, and have participated in a number of humanitarian convoys to Gaza.

Our closest and most frequent collaboration has been with the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) and the Federation of Islamic Medical Associations (FIMA)

And with the generosity of fellow Malaysians and supporters globally, VPM has transferred much needed funds and aid for various projects in Palestine and it’s diaspora. In the recent incursion by Israel on Gaza, VPM has been on the ground serving the needs of the Internally Displaced Palestinians (IDP). The infographic summarize some of our early initiatives to alleviate the sufferings of the IDP.

In cooperation with the government of Malaysia through #OpsIhsan, 3 consignments of relief and humanitarian materials have been flown to El-Arish, Egypt and into Gaza. With IMAM and FIMA, our doctors are on standby to enter Gaza to provide professional healthcare and relieve the exhausted healthcare professionals in Gaza. In partnership with al-Khidmat Foundation  Pakistan, IMA North America and Gifts of the Givers  South Africa, preparations are underway for the establishment of a field hospital to assist with the management of casualties of the war. War is always complicated with outbreaks of infectious diseases. As it is, Gaza under siege since 2007, has very poor access to safe and clean drinking water, and hygienic sanitary facilities.

The wanton destruction of basic facilities (e.g. the bombing of water desalination plants built by our FIMA Safe Water project) would exacerbate water borne disease transmissions e.g. acute gastroenteritis caused by viruses, and bacteria such as cholera and typhoid. The contaminated air made worse by bombings and ashes from the collapsing buildings, would increase the risk of air borne infections namely pneumonias, tuberculosis and whooping cough.

And with the coming winter months, their homes destroyed and with poor access to warm clothings, blankets and mattresses, winter bugs namely influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (bronchiolitis), adenoviruses would be killer diseases, especially among the very young and old in the poorly ventilated and crowded shelters.

Together, our public health priorities would be:

  1. To ensure the ceasefire remains permanent, to
    empower decent rehabilitation of the healthcare
    infrastructure and services in Gaza.
  2. To ensure adequate and continuous supply of life
    saving medicines, critical care monitors and devices,
    array of pharmaceutical supplies, surgical devices
    and consumables.
  3. To allow access of healthcare professionals and
    allied health staff to relieve the exhausted Gazan
    doctors, nurses and other allied health workers.
  4. To ensure the more severe cases of injuries and burns
    be transported to the nearest intensive care facilities
    for best healthcare treatment and outcomes.
  5. To provide the internally displaced Palestinians
    access to clean water and food to prevent starvation
    and malnutrition which would further compromise
    their defense against infections
  6. Targeted vaccination programs to prevent the spread
    of vaccine preventable diseases or it’s re-emergence
    eg polio, TB, pertussis
  7. To provide access to fuel to operate the water
    desalination plants, shelter heating systems,
    ambulances to transfer patients and power generators
    for hospital functioning.
  8. Invest in programs and initiatives aimed at
    addressing the psychological trauma and long
    effects of violence on children who have witnessed
    or experienced conflict-related distress.

All international norms of warfare were violated in the
present incursion of Gaza. Hospitals were targeted,
healthcare professionals and patients were killed, and
babies in ICU were left to die.

In excess of 70% of the Gaza infrastructure were either destroyed or brutalised. It is a tall order to restore the healthcare facilities to near normal. To begin with the Ministry of Health (MOH) services was much compromised by the siege on Gaza since 2007. So the current invasion is an acute on chronic insult to the Gaza, MOH services. The global community spearheaded by the WHO needs to address comprehensively the acute on chronic health crisis in Gaza. An immediate, comprehensive and accurate assessment of the severity of the destruction and damages to the healthcare services would point the direction as to the priorities in the rehabilitation of the healthcare infrastructure and  services. We’ve done our little bits to mitigate some of the healthcare issues and address mild-moderate health concerns of the internally displaced Palestinians (IDP).

Directly or indirectly, many of our endeavours have been
towards restoring and protecting the health of the IDP in
Gaza. These included:

  1. Mobile medical clinics for our IDP. Apart from
    treating and caring for their health concerns, it helps
    to decongest the overwhelmed hospitals which can
    focus on the more sicker cases.
  2. Providing fuel to power the generators in the
    government and charity hospitals and to the
    ambulances to transfer the sick patients.
  3. Providing medical and surgical supplies to the
    government and charity hospitals.
  4. And to the families, we provided basic essentials
    such as first aid kits, hygiene kits, baby kits and baby
    milk products.
  5. Ensure adequate nutrition with the provision of food
    baskets, hot meals, food vouchers and vegetable
    baskets and a continuous supply of safe and clean
  6. And in preparation or the coming winter, we sourced
    warm clothes, blankets and mattresses for the IDPs.

From 7 October-28 Nov 2023, WHO has documented 427 attacks on healthcare in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The attacks have resulted in 566 fatalities and 758 injuries within the healthcare facilities.

Even during warfare, health facilities are universally designated as safe zones for healthcare professionals and patients and safe haven for refuges seeking shelter. The WHO stated unequivocally that health facililities, HCP  and civilians must be protext under all circumstances. stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and their families during these challenging times. We hope and  pray for a peaceful resolution to the war, where people of all races, religions and political persuasions can live in an environment free from fear, violence, and trauma. We implore the international community to act swiftly to protect the lives, wellbeing and welfare of all people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.