The Najar Family, Nablus, January 2011
Despite their tender years, two-and-a-half-year-old Abdullah Najjar and his sister, Sundus, six, are both well know to staff at our Jerusalem Hospital.
Abdallah has been receiving treatment at the hospital since he was just 40 days old, when he was diagnosed with childhood cataracts. Cataract in children is ordinarily very rare. However, the local practice of cousin marriage exposes offspring to a greater risk of congenital complications.
A double lensectomy was performed on baby Abdallah to remove the cloudy lenses, but this led to secondary glaucoma developing in both eyes; a serious complication that can arise following paediatric surgery for congenital cataract.
Abdallah has since gone on to undergo several glaucoma surgeries and now wears spectacles, augmented by eye drops, to treat his condition.
Sundus also suffered from congenital cataract in her left eye as an infant, as well as from amblyopia, or lazy eye. Subsequent to her lensectomy, she developed a condition called acquired hypermetropia. Here, light is not refracted sufficiently and focus occurs at a point behind the retina. For a hypermetropic person, near vision is difficult and causes strain.
The siblings’ current prognosis is stable. Abdallah will need to continue with his eye drops and the vision in Sundus’s left eye is poor. Both will wear spectacles for the rest of their lives.
But the Najjar Family’s relationship with St John does not peak here. Mr Najjar, the children’s 43 year old father, who works with their grandfather in the family’s home appliance store, is a living cornucopia of ophthalmic malady, suffering from retinal detachment, cataract, glaucoma and corneal problems.
Three family members suffering from such serious eye disease strains the functioning and the finances of the entire family unit. Abdallah is unable to play like other children as his eyes can be terribly painful. His father is not able to work on a regular basis as he is frequently admitted to the Jerusalem Hospital; sometimes for days, or even weeks, at a time. Mrs Najjar often assumes sole responsibility for the family.
The Najjars are lucky to have a grandfather who ensures his son is able to contribute a modest income. They come from Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank, approximately 40 miles (63 kilometers) north of Jerusalem. Unemployment there is estimated to be as high as 80%.
Nablusand its culture once enjoyed a certain renown throughout the Arab world, with its cuisine being considered one of best of The Levant. Nabulsi soap was much sought after and has been exported across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe since the 10th century.
However, the once thriving soap industry has been stymied due to the difficult transportation conditions and security measures that characterise the present day West Bank. Today, there are only two soap factories still operating in Nablus.
The family’s need to make regular trips to Jerusalem for treatment and check-ups is problematic. Obtaining the necessary permits to travel out of Nablus cannot always be taken for granted. Mrs Najjar says that she does not like having to pass through the checkpoints with her children.
And having arrived in Jerusalem, Mr Najjar’s income from his father’s shop, which still scarcely covers the family’s living expenses, prohibits much hope of affording treatment.
The John Eye Hospital’s mission to treat patients regardless of ability to pay means that, when those – like the Najjars – who come to us with little hope of paying for care, go through the anguish of making the journey at all, we make every effort to accommodate the costs of their treatment. The Najjars are exempt from paying for theirs.
Mr Najjar says, “In spite of the difficulties to come to Jerusalem and to pass the check points, we will continue having our treatment .Thank you, St John”.
- Case Studies
- Case Studies Archive
- Mrs Khadra Marawa, Tamoon near Jenin, May 2012
- Mrs Fawzieh Mohammad Abu Imayyer, Beit Awwa, March 2012
- Miriam, Tulkarem, February 2012
- Mahmoud Dar Edwan, Qalandia Refugee Camp, February 2012
- Mr Majdi Zaki Asmar, Askar Refugee Camp, February 2012
- Mr Munther Al Dahshan, Gaza, February 2012
- Mrs Mufedeh Salah, Kufer Jamal, January 2012
- Ahmad Rabaia, Jenin, January 2012
- Hiba Karayra, Fondokomia, October 2011
- Mariam Awad, Gaza, September 2011
- Amjad Barakat, Jerusalem, September 2011
- Mahmoud and Mustafa Twam, Ramallah, August 2011
- Mr. Moh’d Jaradat, Idna, July 2011
- Ra’fat and Aseel Yaseen, Asseralh Elshamalieh in Nablus, July 2011
- Jinna Jamil, Bedia, near Nablus, July 2011
- Mohammad Awwad, Talfeet, June 2011
- Mrs Ala’ Mansour, Qalqilya, June 2011
- Mohammad El Foudi, Tulkarm Refugee Camp, June 2011
- Suliman Rastieh, Jericho, June 2011
- Shorouq Mohamadin, Masafer Bani Naim Bedouin Camp, May 2011
- Mrs Bahijeh Fahim, Taybeh, April 2011
- Mohammed Alkharbeesh, Gaza, March 2011
- Mohammad Amro, Dura, February 2011
- Rama Waleed Odeh, Ramallah, February 2011
- Mr Adel Abu El Rub, Qalandia Refugee Camp, February 2011
- The Najar Family, Nablus, January 2011
- Ahmed Elnajar, Gaza, January 2011
- Brothers Bashar and Ibrahim Mahmoud al Haj, Jalqamous, December 2010
- Mrs Shamasneh, Ramallah, December 2010
- The Libdeh Family, Jerusalem, December 2010
- The Thawabteh Family, Bethlehem, December 2010
- Hiba Sahwel, Gaza, October 2010
- Fadi Anwar, Gaza, September 2010
- Mrs Mousa, Jericho, September 2010
- Ayyoub Mohammad, Jericho, March 2010
- Mr. Nawaf Khader, Sawahreh Village, March 2010
- Hamzeh Ziad Mohammad Farawani, Askar Refugee Camp, March 2010