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Palestinian physicians on QRCS scholarships save lives in Gaza
At the Department of Pediatric Oncology, the Abdel-Aziz Rantisi Specialist Hospital in Gaza City, Dr. Mo’men Zain Al-Din stood watching some lab samples of children with cancer. Then, he went to the outpatient clinic, where Ahmed (9), a leukemia patient, was waiting for him to give consultation using the right medical protocols that he learned during his specialized studies in Jordan. Dr. Zain Al-Din said, “I was granted a three-year scholarship by Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) to study the specialty of hematology and oncology at King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan, under the project of supporting specialized medical education program for physicians in Gaza. I learned the methods of diagnosis and treatment for patients with inherited blood disorders, like thalassemia and hemophilia, and cancers, like leukemia and solid tumors”. Sponsored by QRCS, the $476,000 project is implemented in partnership with Palestine’s Ministry of Health (MOH). It involves nine scholarships for Palestinian physicians from Gaza to pursue subspecialties and intensive training in Jordan, in order to develop their capabilities and improve the quality of health services provided for patients in Gaza. Since his return to Gaza two months ago, Dr. Zain Al-Din started his work at the Abdel-Aziz Rantisi Specialist Hospital for Children, to treat the patients, alleviate their suffering, and reduce the need to travel for treatment abroad. In coordination with the medical staff, he works to ensure better health services for patients, despite the challenges faced by cancer patients in Gaza, due to lack of many medications and radiotherapy, following 15 years of blockade. Consultant Dr. Mahmoud Shubair, Head of Cancer Department at the Abdel-Aziz Rantisi Specialist Hospital for Children, considered the return of Dr. Zain Al-Din as a significant addition to the department, which now has several medical professionals who were trained as per international protocols. He emphasized the importance of making use of this exchange of experience on ways to deal with different cases, thus upgrading the services received by patients. According to him, the hospital is considering an expansion of cancer health services to cover 650-700 children with blood disorders and/or cancer in Gaza. This would require the engagement of all experienced medical professionals, who would make a big difference in saving the lives of the patients.