We have received another fascinating report from Lauren Wilkinson, who is out in the Holy Land working with the good people of the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital.
"Day Four - We started off our day delivering basic life support training session to the staff. We then met ward manager, Ahmad Amer who welcomed us to the wards, and gave us a tour of both the adult and paediatric wards. We then spent the rest of the morning on the paediatric ward. Munther and Omayma, nurses on the ward explained to us the conditions that the children were suffering from, and where we were able to meet and spend time with the children and their parents. Some of the children on the ward were suffering from congenital cataracts or glaucoma, and had travelled far for the operation. Despite the language barrier, we were still able to play and communicate with the children, who were all in high spirits, even though they were waiting for surgery. So that surgeons could identify which eye needed the operation, hospital staff would draw an arrow on their face to ensure the child received the correct treatment. We ended the day delivering another training session of basic life support."
"On day five, we met our driver for the day, Nader, who took us to the Anabta hospital. We were met at the hospital by Hani Abdul Haija, the nurse in charge, and he explained to us about the hospital and its role in the community. He then gave us a guided tour and introduced us to the hospital team. We were then able to observe patients being examined and treated in the clinics, including the use of laser therapy when needed. We saw a range of patients, from babies and children to elderly people, with a wide range of conditions including amblyopia, glaucoma and cataracts as well as many cases of diabetic retinopathy. On the way back to Jerusalem, Dr Shaddad Nassa took us to a local cafe for traditional Arabic desserts."
"Day 6 began delivering our final session of training, followed by a visit to the Muristan Clinic in the Old City. We were met by Marlene, a nurse practitioner who works at the clinic. The clinic is a walk-in centre for emergencies, check ups and follow-ups from surgery. The clinic has been open three years, and is open daily Monday to Friday for people to drop in. In addition to working at the clinic, Marlene also runs a school screening programme for St. John, and she visits schools in the Old City free-of-charge, to screen children for eye conditions and advising where necessary to seek further assessment and care. This clinic plays a vital role for many local people, particularly shop owners and elderly people, for whom a trip to the hospital is a time consuming and tiring journey. It was a great opportunity for us to see and learn more about how much the local community relies on the work of St. John in the hospitals and clinics. In the centre of the garden at the Muristan clinic lies the tree of Swifts, which tells the story of the city over thousands of years, representing the pilgrims of all faiths that have been coming to Jerusalem for thousands of years - it symbolises renewal, rebirth and hope for the people of Jerusalem. In the afternoon we had the opportunity to meet with Dr Ahmad Ma’ali, the CEO of the hospital and we were able to talk with him about our experience and the plans for the hospital in the future. We presented a cheque for £570 from our recent fundraising event for children’s glaucoma fund at the hospital."
Thank you, Lauren, for your great work and amazing insight into this worthy cause.