Health, Middle East

‘Milk shortage a health risk for sick Gazan children’

Lack of therapeutic milk endangers Palestinian children who have Phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder, says Health Ministry

‘Milk shortage a health risk for sick Gazan children’

By Afra Aksoy

GAZA, Palestine 

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said Monday that a shortage of therapeutic milk at local hospitals is threatening children suffering from a genetic disorder.

“The lack of therapeutic milk for children with PKU [Phenylketonuria], caused by genetic abnormalities in their metabolism, makes these children vulnerable to mental retardation,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry pointed out that it leads to complications in these children, beginning to lower their IQ gradually until they are mentally disabled.

It said therapeutic milk for 22 sick children under the age of 12 months was "not available at all" in their stores or hospitals while milk for patients over the age of one is available in small quantities sufficient for only three weeks.

Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities, including medicine and medical equipment.

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