IDEALS & MAP - Gaza Surgery

IDEALS/MAP Surgical Visit to Gaza November 2014

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  1. This was my 3rd trip in as many months. We are a group of Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgeons. Previous trips have included an Emergency Department Consultant, an Anaesthetist as well as Primary Care/Public Health experts. We go for very short periods (4-5 days each), but try to pack in as much as possible in that time.

  2. We have a budget from DfID managed by the larger of the 2 charities we are working under, Medical Aid for Palestinians (map-uk.org/). The smaller charity, IDEALS (ideals.org.uk/) comprises of clinicians like myself - we are essentially the working arm of the DfID setup.
  3. One of our tasks is to purchase and deliver surgical equipment to Gaza Hospitals. Taking it as checked-in luggage is currently the quickest way of getting it straight to where it is needed. generally speaking the new equipment is actually used on patients straight away.
  4. This was equipment donated for the first trip in September this year. It had to be unboxed and packed into suitcases to take with us (Kids are for scale!).
  5. We fly into Tel Aviv overnight and take a minibus to Erez.
  6. We then drag the suitcases through the Erez Crossing that links Israel and Gaza.
  7. Our latest visit comprised of 2 plastic surgeons and 3 orthopaedic surgeons from the UK.
  8. Winter is beginning to set in in the region.
  9. To start with we meet with local doctors (Gaza has excellent Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgeons working under extremely challenging conditions) and find out what they actually need to help them plan for the long-term. Our work isn't just about looking after the recently injured. We are trying to set up long-term support (One of IDEALS' main missions).
  10. We are also there to provide education. This takes the form of an evening symposium. Quizzes, lectures and case discussions are the main items on the menu.
  11. Then the work with patients begins. First, a busy clinic where the local doctors have selected patients to be seen by the visiting team.
  12. MAP are critical here in providing organisational support!
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