Mercy: Urgent need to rebuild ‘damaged’ Palestinian lives


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 29 Jan 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: The Palestinians need psycho-social health and psychiatric care to help them recover from the horrors of war, says Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood.

According to Dr Jemilah, children who had been through a natural disaster recover better than children of war, hence the need for more psychiatrists and psychologists to be deployed in Gaza.

“I used to look at images of these kids on television, pelting stones at the Israeli forces, and thought to myself ‘What are they thinking? They must be out of their minds!

“What we must understand is that the children have not known any other life apart from war. They have been literally robbed of their childhood. They are ‘dying’ to be just normal children,” she said at the National Heart Institute (IJN).

Apart from psycho-social health, Mercy was also planning to re-establish a rehabilitation and prosthetics centre that was destroyed in the bombings.

“Children and adults had to undergo amputation because of the injuries they sustained in the war, and the centre will be able to help them with artificial limbs and therapy,” she said, adding that many also suffered spinal injuries.

Dr Jemilah was sharing her experiences after her recent visit to Gaza.

The IJN has pledged to donate RM50,000 in total for Mercy’s Palestinian relief fund by week’s end.

IJN paediatric cardiology department head Dr Mazeni Alwi said RM15,000 was raised from a day’s earnings donated by all senior staff and RM5,000 came from donation boxes placed in the hospital.

The remaining RM30,000 will be donated by IJN Holdings Sdn Bhd.

“We are looking at working with Mercy on a long-term basis. Apart from donations like this, we also encourage our own staff to volunteer for Mercy, not just for the Palestinian mission, but also for future missions,” he said.

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