Source: Al Jazeera

Life under Israeli occupation has spurred the progress of diabetes, the leading indirect cause of death in Palestine.

A mobile clinic with specialised doctors, nurses, nutritionists and podiatrists recently made a stop in Yatta, the main market town of the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank.

The clinic – a large truck stocked with free treatment options – is at the forefront of thebattle against diabetes, which has now become the leading indirect cause of death in Palestine as the main risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, according to the World Health Organization.

“The mobile clinic is our only alternative for diabetes treatment. We live a life of poverty,” Abu Abdullah, a man in his late fifties, told Al Jazeera.  

One among tens of Palestinian patients waiting outside the clinic on a recent day, Abu Abdullah said he moved to the outskirts of Yatta three decades ago, after the Israeli army forced him off his land in the South Hebron Hills. Since the move, it has been hard for him to earn enough money to provide for his wife and seven children.

His story is far from unique, as Israel controls nearly all aspects of Palestinian economic life. Palestinian arable land occupied by Israel for military and settler use amounts to two-thirds of the West Bank, leaving Palestinian unemployment ratesamong the highest in the world. 

“Poverty and unemployment is directly linked to inactivity and a poor diet. That is a recipe for diabetes,” said Ahmad Abu al-Halaweh, who manages the mobile clinic and serves as director of the Diabetes Care Center at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem.