We believe that the time has come to bring about a transformation in the health sector. It is the time for media, popular, legal and specialized action to occur.
Written by: Salah Al-Deen Mussa
We do not need to call for the formation of investigation committees regarding the recent issue that occurred with the delivery of expired vaccines to Palestine. We do not need to go to the President with any requests and do not need any investigations from the Prime Minister, rather we must take the following steps:
- Dismissing the staff who supervised the signing of the agreement or at least suspending them. The Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission or the Attorney General must investigate them, especially since the Prime Minister made the right decision in stopping this agreement.
- Unions and human rights organisations should file a complaint to the Attorney General regarding the entire agreement process and quickly start an investigation. The Attorney General must also consider this complaint as slander and defamation, as he has not yet issued subpoenas against the defendant. What will the prosecution do? Are they waiting for a complaint from legal and union authorities?
- Disseminating the agreement to the public in order for them to be informed of its terms, details and rationale of the decision. The public must also be aware of whether or not the termination of the agreement entails any financial or legal obligations on the Palestinian government, and thus on the public treasury. The person who signed and issued instructions to sign it must be obligated to pay these amounts, if any.
- The Prime Minister pledged that no decision regarding the health of citizens, especially regarding COVID-19 would be taken without consulting all relevant authorities, and that the matter would not be left to the Ministry of Health. Recently, it has been proven that it failed in all its administrative standards.
- A pledge that any agreement signed with Israel must be announced by the Palestinian side rather than awaiting news from the Hebrew media.
- The necessity of forming a permanent national body that follows up on the work of the Ministry of Health regarding COVID-19, medical referrals, medical supplies and equipment along with medicines. Further, a weekly report must be issued to inform citizens about the epidemiological situation, vaccination process and medical referrals. The issue regarding medical referrals is one that is related to the health and well-being of citizens, for anyone who needs to obtain a referral, whether for hospitals in the West Bank, Jerusalem or Jordan, suffers tremendously.
- The time has come for civil society and human rights organisations to take a clear, firm and permanent position in including the public on decisions related to their health and following up on their concerns. These organisations must appoint observers to attend vaccination centers, assist with medical referrals, take complaints, pursue them directly and publish them on the media if they are not dealt with correctly, which guarantee the protection of citizens’ rights and health.
- The Ministry of Health must be placed under external management through the formation of a specialized and technical national team, along with independent doctors in order for all files to be transferred from the bureaucracy of the individual institution to legislation and effective oversight.
We do not want investigation committees, examinations and/or calls for the parties that have been proven to repeat their mistakes and are protected. No medical errors were addressed, vaccinations were not organized, medical referrals were not settled and health services in hospitals were not properly dealt with. We believe that the time has come to bring about a transformation in the health sector. It is the time for media, popular, legal and specialized action to occur. It is enough to beg for the change of the political level, for it seems that it is unable to take any steps forward. It seems that they are betting on people’s preoccupations with their own concerns. However, it is time for us to say no since this time is not like the rest. Will we be up to the national responsibility, or will the Prime Minister take the step to stop those who made the decision and transfer them to the Public Prosecution Office? Will the Prosecution play its role, which we hope is consistent with the provisions of the law before the Prime Minister or President request it? The question that remains is: “What are we waiting for?”