- 04 Feb 2020
Yazan from Gaza recently received treatment at our Jerusalem Hospital for injuries sustained from playing in the rubble of his parents’ house – rubble caused by the 2014 conflict in Gaza.
The injuries he received were severe, as his father explains: ‘When I first saw him I thought he had died. It looked like he wasn’t breathing.’
He was rushed to a local hospital and had an emergency operation in an attempt to save his eye. However the government hospital did not do a very good job, and the eye remained almost fully closed, offering Yazan limited vision.
His parents decided they must take him to seek treatment elsewhere. But this caused in itself a problem. Yazan’s father was denied access to the West Bank, like many in his community, and his mother was breastfeeding their newborn baby.
How do you seek treatment elsewhere when you are not allowed to leave the area you live in? One third of all patients (and their companions) from Gaza are denied access to the West Bank to seek medical treatment. Our Gaza Hospital was created for this exact reason – to enable our most isolated patients to be able to easily access treatment within the region.
However Yazan’s case was a particularly complicated one, as the injury was so severe – and the majority of our specialist surgeons are based in our flagship Jerusalem Hospital. It fell to little Yazan’s grandmother, with the help of St John social services, to travel with him to Jerusalem for treatment.
Two operations at St John saved Yazan’s sight in the damaged eye. His grandmother is very thankful to have found our services. Yazan is one of the 42,700 children we screened or treated at St John Eye Hospital in 2016.
‘I thank God when I think about how things were and how things are now. There is nothing like being able to see, vision, what’s more than that?’
In a society as turbulent as the oPt, children living without sight struggle to access education or gain employment. Living blind or visually impaired robs them of an independent future – by investing more into our services we are able to increase the number of children we see and treat, ensuring that no child in the oPt will have to suffer from preventable blindness. Help give children like Yazan a chance for an independent future today.