Mrs Shamasneh, Ramallah, December 2010
Mrs. Aisheh Shamasneh is a 50 year old refugee, currently living in Qatanneh in Ramallah. A housewife, she is married and has three daughters and eight sons, aged between 14 and 33. Four of her children are married and four of them are still at school.
Mr Shamasneh is unemployed and the family depends upon The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for food and medicines, as well as upon assistance from relatives.
In November 2010, Mrs Shamasneh came to us with a painful corneal opacity in her right eye. It had been troubling her for 18 years.
Ramallah is a city in the central West Bank with a population of around 27.000. It currently serves as the administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority. Although it is located only 6 miles (10 kilometers) north of Jerusalem, the travel restrictions imposed upon ordinary Palestinians mean that even this simple journey is not always possible.
Living in Ramallah, Mrs Shamasneh had found it difficult to obtain the relevant permits to travel to the St. John Eye Hospital in East Jerusalem, and the condition was affecting her ability to manage her household and look after her children.
Corneal opacity is a disorder of the transparent structure on the front of the eyeball, which can cause serious vision problems. Corneal opacity occurs when the cornea becomes scarred and stops light from passing through the cornea to the retina.
Upon finally arriving at the St John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, Mrs Shamasneh was given a corneal graft, an operation in which part of the cornea is removed and replaced with a similar piece of cornea from a donor eye.
She has since recovered well and her eye shows good visual potential. She is also able to self-medicate using drops that help keep her eyes stable. The Hospital exempted Mrs Shamasneh from both the cost of her treatment and that of the eye drops.
Mrs Shamasneh is now able to take up her duties as a housewife and mother without pain. She said, “The Hospital provides a wonderful service and helped me despite that fact that I’m very poor.”
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