115. Palestinian National Authority, Ministry of Health. The Status of Health in Palestine: Annual Report 1997, Palestine. Health Research, Planning and Development Directorate, 1998: 99 pages.

This annual report provides an overview of the health care sector and determinants of health status of the population under the Palestinian National Authority in 1997. The report describes some important population trends such as a decrease in population growth (from 5.2% in 1994 to 3.1% in 1997), and a decrease in fertility rate (from 7.4 births per woman in 1993 compared to 6.0 births per woman in 1997). The report also reviews recent trends in the Palestinian health care system such as developments in health resources, financial expenditures, physical infrastructure, health policies and strategies, and health research and planning. Included in the report is also a brief outline of health service activities that are carried out by the ministry of health, either solely or in conjunction with other local or international organizations. Efforts are being made to standardize a database and a reporting system in Palestine in order to overcome existing problems such as lack of consistency and underreporting. For 1997, the life expectancy was 69 years for males and 71 years for females. Infant death rates were reported at 20.1 per thousand for the Gaza Strip and 12.6 per thousand for the West Bank. The three leading causes of death for the 20 to 59 age group were malignancy, ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, while the major cause of death for the 60+ age group was cerebrovascular disease. Great efforts have been accomplished in the field of control and surveillance of infectious diseases in spite of problems in under-diagnosis and underreporting. In 1997, an outbreak of viral meningitis occurred in the Palestinian districts. The report finally describes the implementation of hospital discharge information system, which is planned to include an epidemiological reporting and monitoring of diseases according to the international classification system (ICD10).