Aussies send life support to Palestinians

An Australian charity is sending coronavirus equipment to the West Bank and Gaza Strip
An Australian charity is sending coronavirus equipment to the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Australia is leading efforts to supply vital medical equipment to the West Bank and Gaza Strip where hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Palestinian Authority had been calling for urgent assistance in securing much-needed life support appliances, with just 322 adult ventilators to cover all 4.9 million people within the territory.

There are fears without the extra equipment the region's health system will fail to cope with an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases.

Australian-based charity Project Rozana is set to deliver 20 hospital grade invasive ventilators from Sydney to the Palestinian city of Ramallah on Thursday.

Chair Ron Finkel AM said the group had been contacted directly by the Palestinian government with the request.

"The PA is competing with better-resourced communities worldwide that are less constrained in their access to funds," Mr Finkel said.

Founded in 2013, the not-for-profit seeks to build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians through health initiatives.

Project Rozana hopes to fundraise $1.2 million for a further 30 ventilators to be flown to the region and to support other health programs.

Online training on using the equipment will also be provided to health workers by specialists at Israel's Rambam Hospital, in Haifa.

The initiative is being supported by the Israeli government and the World Health Organisation.

Australian Associated Press