First Palestinian child treated by Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund in Beirut

First Palestinian child treated by Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund in Beirut
The 'Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund' did a press conference on Wednesday to update viewers on how Adam, the first child treated through the fund, is faring.
3 min read
06 June, 2024
Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah spoke at a press conference to provide an update on the first child to have received treatment through the Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund [Mohammed Salman/Al-Araby Al-Jadeed]

Renowned British Palestinian surgeon Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah spoke at a press conference in Beirut on Wednesday on behalf of the "Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund" and gave a full update on the first injured child who has received treatment through the fund.

Adam Afana, 5, arrived in Beirut on 27 May and has been undergoing intensive treatment for his left hand after the house his family were sheltering in Jabalia in northern Gaza was hit by an Israeli missile on 27 October.

Abu Sittah, who spent weeks working in hospitals in northern Gaza when Israel began its brutal bombardment of the Strip describes Israel's eight-month war as one "targeting the children of Gaza" where "over half the injured are children", and where "over 10,000 children are in urgent need of treatment".

Mission of the Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund

Abu Sittah, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and war injury specialist, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition, that "the mission of the fund is to transport children from Gaza, who have been severely injured in the war by the occupation, along with a family member, and provide them with comprehensive treatment in Lebanon before returning to their homeland to continue their recovery."

Eid Afana, Adam's uncle who has accompanied him on the rehabilitative trip, said: "Adam's home in Jabalia was hit by an Israeli airstrike last October".

Several family members including Adam's father, sister, grandmother, three cousins and aunt were killed.

"His mother is receiving treatment in Egypt and her condition is improving, and his brother also suffered a severe injury," he continued.

Afana explained that Adam had spent six months in a hospital in Egypt before being transferred to Beirut around a week ago where he is undergoing treatment at the American University of Beirut Medical Center.

"The treatment path is long, but what the fund provides is very unique, and the way they interact with Adam is beyond wonderful and so beneficial for him psychologically. He feels like he's in a hotel, not a hospital. We hope this will positively impact his overall condition."

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Abu Sittah explained that Lebanon was picked as the location for where the fund would be set up because "its healthcare sector is the most specialised in the world when it comes to treatment of such complex and compound injuries. Sadly, this expertise is due to the wars Lebanon has endured, which have led to an accumulation of experience in its healthcare sector. This makes it the natural location for treating these injuries".

He also pointed out that a core aspect of the initiative was to rebuild the medical sector in Gaza which had been decimated.

"Israel has assassinated more than 400 doctors, nurses, and paramedics, aiming to eliminate an entire generation of the healthcare sector, including 55 consultants and specialists".

He says they will strive to use the fund to create scholarships for postgraduate specializations "related to fields in which [medical] personnel have been targeted".

The Ghassan Abu Sittah Children's Fund was established in early January 2024, initiated by a group of multidisciplinary professionals in Lebanon. It was inspired by the British-Palestinian surgeon and he has supervised its establishment.

This article is based on an article which appeared in our Arabic edition by Rita El Jammal on 5 June 2024. To read the original article click here.