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Israel and the occupied/autonomous territories: Training for Palestinian surgeons

04-07-2002 News Release 02/27

On 23 June Dr Asa Molde became the second ICRC vascular surgeon to visit Gaza and the West Bank this year as part of a surgical training programme launched in March.

Dr Molde, who qualified as a medical doctor in 1971, has had many years of ICRC experience working both at the organization's headquarters in Geneva and on assignments in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia and Guinea. She is a lecturer on war surgery in her native Sweden.

At present Dr Molde is working in the government-run Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. In the week since her arrival, she has given three lectures and taken part in four lifesaving vascular operations. " The staff here are extremely competent " , she commented, " and I am also happy to see how well equipped the hospital is. "

In March and April this year, another ICRC vascular surgeon, Dr Marek Bednarkiewicz, spent five weeks providing on-the-job training for general surgeons from Rafah and Khan Younis in Gaza's Shifa hospital and for surgeons from hospitals in Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Salfit and Jenin in the West Bank.

The ICRC's surgical training programme is aimed at upgrading the war-surgery skills of Palestinian surgeons based in peripheral hospitals throughout the occupied and autonomous territories. In April, Dr Tim Keenan, an ICRC orthopaedic surgeon from Australia, helped to improve the management of war wounds in hospitals in Tulkarem and Jenin and assisted in a number of operations, one of which he successfully conducted over the telephone while on a visit to Jerusalem.

Surgical instruments and equipment valued at 70,000 Swi ss francs have already been delivered to various hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza in coordination with the Ministry of Health. A further 50,000 francs worth of surgical items are on the way.