Very briefly, the main results from the preceding analyses can be summarized
in the following way:
Acute illness and injury
Prolonged illness and handicaps
- 25% report that they have had an illness or an injury during the last
month before the interview took place.
- 72% of those who report illnesses during the last month had been prevented
from carrying out their regular duties for 3 days or more, which corresponds
to 18% of the total adult population.
Determinants of illness
- 30% report that they have illnesses of a prolonged nature, or afflictions
due to an injury or a handicap.
- Pain in the musculo-skeletal system is the most frequent reason for
prolonged illness. 16% of all women and 12% of all men suffer from such
Utilization of health services
- Age is the strongest determinant of the prevalence of illness. Prevalence
of illness increase along with age.
- Women and men report the same rates of both acute and chronic illness,
but there are some differences when it comes to specific groups of prolonged
- Frequency of acute and prolonged illness is higher when the wealth
of the household is low, and when the educational level of the individual
- It seems that refugee status and camp residency has a limited influence
on rates of self-reported illness.
- More than 96% of those who have been ill consulted a physician (89%)
and/or other kinds of health personnel. Once people define themselves as
ill, they tend to consult health personnel. This is true for all subgroups,
indicating that availability of health services is good. The quality and
appropriateness of the health services offered cannot be evaluated in this
- Utilization of maternal and child health care services shows the same
pattern. The utilization increases along with the educational level of the
mother, but is not dependent on the wealth of the household. Geographical
accessibility seems to be the most important factor determining the use
of these services.
- Utilization of primary health care services is much lower than it
is in the Jewish population in Israel, but well within the limits of what
is found in Western Europe.
- Health insurance coverage rates a low 30%.
- Coverage does not seem to be determined by refugee status or camp
residency. In camps the rate is 27%.
- Important determinants of coverage rates are age, wealth, residency
in Arab Jerusalem, and full time employment. In Arab Jerusalem the rate
is 50%, in Gaza 26%, and in the West Bank 29%.
- Only 20% of the population report no symptoms of distress. 50% report
1-3 symptoms, and 30% report a high degree of distress (4-7 symptoms).
- Comparison with studies in other countries is difficult, but the proportion
of people who report symptoms of psychological distress seems relatively
- Somatic illness is a strong determinant of psychological distress.
When corrected for illness, the degree of distress increases slightly with
- Does the high degree of distress in the population indicate stress
caused by traumatic events? More symptoms of distress are reported by individuals
who have somebody in the household that has been arrested during the intifada,
or who have a child that has been seriously injured during the last two
months. This may indicate that trauma is a possible reason for the very
high numbers of symptoms reported.