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PA accuses Hamas of selling donated medicine

Jan. 31, 2011 7:36 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 1, 2011 6:50 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry on Monday accused its counterpart in the Gaza Strip of selling donated medical aid to private pharmacies.

The Ramallah-based ministry said five convoys had delivered almost 1,600 tons of medical aid to the coastal enclave so far in 2011.

However, only a few tons of the donated medicine reached the PA ministry's warehouse in the Gaza Strip, the ministry said in a statement.

The PA ministry said it would publish the number of tons of medicine donated to the Strip in 2010, and would show that thousands of tons of aid were sold to private pharmacies.

The Hamas-led Gaza government ministry and its counterpart in the Fatah-led PA are embroiled in an ongoing spat, and both sides regularly trade accusations.

The Hamas ministry has accused the PA of failing to deliver its allocated medical supplies, which it said has left Gaza's health sector on the verge of collapse several times.

Further, the Gaza ministry has said donated medicines do not meet the needs of Gaza's residents, adding that the aid is often labeled in foreign languages which require specialist translators.

The Fatah ministry said it would send a further 10 truckloads of medical supplies to Gaza in February despite obstacles placed by the Hamas-run ministry.

The Ramallah ministry called on its Gaza counterpart not to charge patients for medicines which were sent for free.

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