Accessibility to Health Services in the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territory

Posted in Special Reports 2010

The Palestinian Territory has since 1967 been occupied by Israel. Following a large number of disturbances as protests to the occupation, Israel has imposed mobility restrictions for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The mobility is regulated by for example checkpoints, roadblocks and earth mounds. In 2002, Israel started to build a concrete wall around and inside the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank, opposing international law and human rights. The restricted mobility is affecting the accessibility for the Palestinian people. The term accessibility means in this context the ability for people to reach certain geographical locations that might be of importance, such as health care facilities. This study aims at assessing, quantifying and documenting the present accessibility status to general hospitals by using GIS-based model that includes information on the roads system, hospitals and Israeli physical obstructions across the West Bank. When talking about accessibility to health care, the time it takes to reach the facility is in many cases more important than distance and therefore, accessibility is in this study measure by time. Data on road speeds was collected from speed measurements and data on delay at checkpoints was collected by interviews. When all data was collected and synthesized, a network model was built and analyzed using the Network Analyst tool of ArcGIs. Three types of Network Analyses were conducted: Service Area, Closest Facility, and Route. It was found that most people live within a border of 15 minutes to a general hospital but there are 25000 people that have no accessibility at all in the present situation. 285000 people are affected by at least one checkpoint on the way to the quickest reachable general hospital, and the delay at checkpoints can be up to 3 hours long. The result also shows that the Israeli imposed physical obstructions, including checkpoints and barriers increases the travel time significantly, both at the regional and intra-regional levels.

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