Palestine Red Crescent Society brings hope back to Rawan Al Najjar

Published: 18 November 2014 12:07 CET

By Ra’ed Al Nims, Palestine Red Crescent Society

It will be a long time before Rawan Al Najjar,10, forgets what happened on the day a shell hit her home in Khoza’a to the East of Khan Younis, turning much of it to rubble. The last thing Rawan remembers before losing consciousness is a loud explosion which left her with a skull fracture, internal bleeding and serious wounds.

Rawan’s mother, 51-year-old Umm Muhammad, carried her in her arms, begging her to open her eyes. She thought the littl

e girl had died and called her husband, who was trying to rescue their other children from beneath the rubble.

“We took her to the European Hospital where we were told that Rawan was still alive, but in a serious condition. We asked God to heal her so that she would return home and fill it with laughter," Umm Muhammad said.

Rawan spent six days in the hospital before being referred to the rehabilitation section of the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s, Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis where she was to receive medical treatment and psychosocial support.

According to Aya Kallab, a physiotherapist at the hospital, Rawan suffered from weak upper and lower limb muscles, a balance disorder and severe trauma. Moreover, she had trouble standing and walking and her eyes were swollen.

Rawan received treatment at the hospital for over two months. Her rapid recovery plan included physical, occupational and psychosocial therapy as well as reading and drawing activities, and games for movement rehabilitation. With this support, she was eventually able to go back home to a normal life.

Dr Wa’el Makki, Director of Al Amal Hospital, said: “We are currently the only facility in the Gaza Strip offering rehabilitation services to patients with temporary or permanent disabilities. Al Wafa’ Hospital, which used to offer these same services in the Northern Gaza Strip, was destroyed during the unrest.”

The Red Crescent’s rehabilitation section was inaugurated in May 2013 to assist patients with spinal cord and head injuries, as well as amputees and stroke patients. In addition to providing physical and occupational therapy, the section promotes positive behaviour from staff promote active recovery and to prepare patients for life beyond the walls of the hospital.

Rawan is one of hundreds of children injured during the recent violence in the Gaza Strip. Ministry of Health statistics show that 30 per cent of people disabled by attacks were children. The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s health, community-based and psychosocial support teams are all working tirelessly to support these children, to ease their suffering and ensure their rehabilitation.

“At the beginning, I was unable to stand or walk,” Rawan said. “Now, I can run around and play with my friends. I will not forget the games I played nor the stories I read at the Red Crescent Rehabilitation Section where I felt at home. I will miss the lovely time I spent there.”