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Rehabilitation efforts in Gaza

The ongoing war in Gaza has caused loss of lives of scores of people, displacement of families, injuries and destruction of property. These kinds of events make life unbearable for the people of Gaza who already have been living in difficult conditions. This war has taken the lives of over 14800 people in Gaza and over 1200 lives in Israel as of 12 October 2023 as  reported by Aljazeera.  




Abedelkareem works and lives in the Gaza strip and has a background in occupational therapy and also as a prosthetic specialist,which he has been practicing for the last 10 years in  Hamad Al Thani Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Hospital. Before his current role as a prosthetic specialist, he worked with doctors without borders as an occupational therapist which focussed on burns and war injuries. Abed reports that rehabilitation at the facility has been comprehensive before the latest war but also notes  the need for capacity building for rehabilitation professionals working with clients with war injuries. 


With the ongoing security operations, Abed and his colleagues are unable to go to work and rehabilitation activities cannot go on due to orders to evacuate and the displacement of people to the southern part of Gaza. It is unimaginable that rehabilitation professionals are not able to access their places of work at this time where possibly many people with injuries need their immediate attention, however taking into consideration the safety of these professionals is imperative. With the rehabilitation hospital closed and almost no means of communication and transportation, Abed and his team only hope is a cease fire or end to the war to allow them to resume their duties to assist the many people who need their services at this time. He thinks that the immediate efforts will be needed to direct funding. While a ceasefire is in force at the time of this article, the future is uncertain and the truce may be short lived. 

Abed sees the immediate needs as channeling  of resources to aid rehabilitation of the many injured people in Gaza strip. He is also pleading with all parties to respect international laws that also protect health workers and those working on humanitarian groups. It is important to put into context the mental health status of health professionals in the strip as National Public Radio (NPR) has reported that 200 health professionals have been killed in the war and this includes specialized professionals scarce and urgently needed in the Gaza strip. It also includes over 130 health professionals who have been injured. 

We have seen numerous images of severe body injuries and with poor medical care, we are looking at a high number of people with disabilities for those who survive this war and this includes both physical disabilities and psychological disturbances. 



Image from Al Jazeera 

Image from Al Jazeera 


The disruption in the lives of people is immense, people have been forced into refugee camps which are reportedly unsafe as bombing still happens in these camps. Entire family generations who were killed as culturally many of these families stay together, the remaining relatives have not had a chance to perform burial rights for their loved ones according to their traditions. 

Some of the humanitarian organizations Abedelkareem suggests you can follow to get more information on the current situation in gaza include  International Red Cross, the Palestinian Red Crescent, Doctors Without Borders, the World Food Organization, and the United Nations Relief and Refugee Agency



References

International Committee for the Red cross, 2023, November 24; American Red Cross Statement on the Conflict in Gaza https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/press-release/2023/statement-on-conflict-in-israel-and-gaza.html

Vanessa Romo 2023, November 16, Doctors are among the many dead in Gaza;These are their stories. NPR Radio, 




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