PQMD Members International Health Partners (IHP) and Anera Work Together to Save Lives in Gaza


With a pro-active approach to meeting patient needs and a network of generous partners, International Health Partners (IHP) works alongside new PQMD member, Anera, to save lives in Gaza.

IHP began their partnership with Anera in 2013. Today, IHP and Anera continue to work together to increase access to health in Gaza and elsewhere. Last year, for example, IHP sent Anera 26 pallets of donated medicines: a total of 174,824 treatments worth nearly £567,000.

Anera responds to the long-term needs of marginalised people, and supports a range of health facilities across Gaza, including two of its main hospitals, Shifa and Al Qud. Ongoing conflict in the Gaza strip has disrupted an already overburdened health system, leading to mass cancellation of services such as elective surgeries. Nevertheless, in 2018 Al Qud treated more than 174,000 patients, providing cardiovascular care, specialist services, and interventions including CATH and bypass procedures.

A pharmacist at Al Qud hospital in Gaza shows some of the donated heparin stock. (Courtesy photo IHP UK)

At times, doctors at these hospitals cannot perform surgical procedures because essential medicines and supplies run short. With coronary bypass, for example, the anticoagulant medicine heparin sodium is used to prevent fatal blood clotting. The risks of bypass are so high that surgery cannot be performed if there is no heparin for the bypass machine. This medicine is also needed for CATH procedures, a less invasive cardiovascular surgery. As every procedure requires about five vials of this vital and lifesaving medicine, it’s in constant demand.

When Shifa and Al Qud ran out of heparin in early 2018, they asked Anera for help. Anera came to IHP. Could IHP source more heparin sodium to enable these lifesaving surgeries and procedures to take place? We decided to reach out to a trusted partner and manufacturer, LEO Pharma. Generously, it agreed to offset some of its supply in a planned way, to meet needs for a period of time. It donated 32,000 vials of heparin sodium, which IHP shipped to Anera in October 2018.

These vials have already saved lives. When IHP visited Gaza in April, they met several patients including Omar, 70. Problems with his heart were detected in a routine ECHO exam, and he was referred for immediate open-heart surgery to replace a damaged valve. Left untreated, this condition would have been life threatening, but thanks to LEO Pharma’s response when IHP reached out – donating heparin sodium – the hospital had sufficient supplies to perform the bypass. Omar was even able to leave ICU the day after surgery, returning a few days later for a CATH procedure to put in a stent, enabling blood flow.

Thanks to our LEO Pharma’s heparin donation, Omar was able to have lifesaving bypass surgery. (Courtesy photo IHP UK)

IHP met Omar surrounded by his family, who were visiting him at his hospital bedside. His daughter, a doctor in obstetrics and gynaecology, told us: “[My father’s heart problem] came as a complete shock but we are so glad the damaged valve was detected and treated so quickly. And we are so grateful for the donation of heparin that meant my father could have his surgery.”

LEO Pharma’s donation has helped save many lives in Gaza, including Omar’s. With Anera and other NGO partners – and with the support and generosity of partners in healthcare and logistics – IHP continues to take a pro-active approach to meet the needs of people who lack access to medicine.