Melissa Parke MP – speech supporting the Anglicord Gaza: Women Die Waiting campaign

photo of Melissa Parke MP
November 2, 2011

As I learned during a trip into Gaza earlier this year to the Al-Ahli Hospital, breast cancer is one of the biggest killers in the Gaza Strip. While in Australia a woman who is treated for breast cancer has an 80 per cent survival rate at five years, for women in Gaza it is 40 per cent.

Full speech

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (13:46): During the last parliamentary sitting I attended a function organised by Anglicord, an Anglican overseas aid agency, which is raising money to fund breast cancer clinics in the Gaza Strip. As I learned during a trip into Gaza earlier this year to the Al-Ahli Hospital, breast cancer is one of the biggest killers in the Gaza Strip. While in Australia a woman who is treated for breast cancer has an 80 per cent survival rate at five years, for women in Gaza it is 40 per cent. There are a number of reasons for this, including late detection, poverty, limited medical services inside Gaza and limited access to treatment outside of Gaza.

No radiation therapy is available in Gaza primarily due to Israel’s objection to the importation of radioactive materials into Gaza. Any patient requiring medical treatment outside Gaza must gain permission from the Israeli government to travel. This permit system is unpredictable as permits may be granted after the appointment dates, permits may be issued for the escort or carer but not the patient, or the other way round, and some patients are simply denied permission to seek medical treatment outside Gaza. It is unacceptable that innocent women and their families should be paying the price of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and the political divisions within the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza.

I would like to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of Anglicord’s CEO, Misha Coleman, and staff as well as the staff of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza. I urge interested Australians to donate generously to Anglicord’s Women Die Waiting campaign. I also note the efforts of my parliamentary colleagues, the members for Calwell, Shortland and Farrer, to highlight this issue. I call upon all the relevant authorities to exercise some compassion. (Time expired)

Link to parliamentary Hansard

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