Meet MAP’s #RealLifeHeroes this World Humanitarian Day

To mark World Humanitarian Day today, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is celebrating the #RealLifeHeroes who enable our work in support of Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity.

Mohammed Aghaalkurdi: Treating gunshot wounds in Gaza amid the pandemic

Mohammed Aghaalkurdi, MAP’s Limb Reconstruction Project Assistant, supports MAP’s work treating patients with complex limb injuries in Gaza.

“I have been working with patients injured with gunshot wounds and their families for the past two years now. It is not easy seeing a patient’s eyes turn red with pain and despair because of these devastating wounds. But nothing compares to seeing them burst with joy when they are reassured about their injury and treatment plan.”

“An important part of my work is supporting the missions of expert surgeons and rehabilitation specialists that travel from the UK to Gaza. The missions cater to the needs of the local clinical team, providing hands-on training, symposiums and workshops.

“Sadly, since the outbreak of COVID-19, planned medical missions have had to be postponed. To maintain the relationship with the specialists in the UK, virtual meetings via video calls are now conducted weekly with the local team, where they discuss clinical cases and decide on treatment plans for patients.

“Back in March, when a state of emergency was announced, we also had to suspend other activities. Local outpatient clinics were closed, and elective surgeries were postponed, leaving dozens of patients waiting in line for medical care. The local outpatient clinics and surgeries have now resumed, but we are minimising the number of patients there and taking important precautionary measures. `

“Everyone involved in the project is working hard to overcome the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, to make sure it has the minimum impact on patients’ treatments. I’m really proud of all we’ve achieved this past two years and look forward to helping more patients take their first steps towards recovery.”

To hear more from Mohammed, keep an eye out for MAP’s Witness magazine which will be published next month.

Dr. Suhail Aqabna: Delivering vital healthcare to marginalised communities in Hebron

Dr. Suhail Aqabna, is the supervisor of the MAP-supported mobile clinic in Area C of the Hebron governorate run by the Palestinian Medical Relief Society.

“The mobile clinic serves as a lifeline to at least 2,736 people living in isolated communities in Area C of Hebron, where there are no permanent healthcare facilities as the Palestinian Authority is not allowed to build here and there is no regular public transport to take residents to towns and cities to access healthcare.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, an important part of the mobile clinic’s work has been providing community members with masks and disinfectants as well as awareness raising sessions on the virus. 

“We are the only medical provider able to reach these communities due to the spike of cases in coronavirus. During the first weeks of our visits, many people thought of COVID-19 as a myth, and did not take the precautionary measures, such as social distancing, seriously. However, we now see a change as many people are asking us to provide them with hand sanitising gel and masks. At the moment we are following up -through home visits- including to several people with disabilities who have chronic diseases.”

Learn more about the mobile clinic’s work

Samer: Bringing psychosocial support to Palestinian refugees 

Samer, a 16-year-old Palestinian refugee from Syria, is helping to bring psychosocial and mental health support to Palestinian youth in Lebanon.

The need for these services have been underscored following the terrifying explosion in Beirut on 4 August, which have seriously affected residents of the Palestinian refugee camps– in particular children.

One of MAP’s partners, the National Institution of Social Care and Vocational Training, provides free health and life skills education for young Palestinian refugees. Their activities are run by young people like Samer, who are trained and supported by specialists to become ‘peer educator’ volunteers.

“Since coronavirus started to spread in Lebanon, I am no longer able to go to the gym and exercise or play football with my friends. I used to like those things a lot and looked forward to doing them after school. The school experience with online learning is not easy. I faced many difficulties; it is not the same as when you have the teacher in-front of you explaining to you.

“In the Adolescents Health project, we stopped giving peer education sessions at the center. We are now using alternative methods. For example, we did two videos, one talking about coronavirus and the other about HIV/AID which is a topic discussed in the project. The videos were posted on the project’s page and got many a lot of engagement.

“I hope the outbreak ends soon and we go back to our normal life where we can go to the gym, play freely, and hangout with our friends.”

*Name changed to protect identity

Thank you!

MAP would like to thank all the many outstanding people who are enabling our vital programmes, and celebrates their work not just on World Humanitarian Day, but all year round!

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