Gaza: MSF Trains Palestinian Doctors on Hand Therapy and Burn Treatment

In January MSF trained local surgeons and physical therapists in Gaza City to provide specialized care for hand injuries and burns. 

Palestinian Authority 2012 © Michel Boutan/MSF

MSF has trained Palestinian surgeons to manufacture and use orthoses to treat hand injuries.

Following a late 2011 visit by two hand surgeons, in early January 2012 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened its first unit dedicated to hand therapy to treat all patients in the Gaza Strip who require this specialized care.

Over a two-week period, French physical therapist and science writer Michel Boutan trained four Palestinian physical therapists at the MSF clinic in Gaza City. They were trained to perform manual screening of mobility problems, establish appropriate treatment protocols, manufacture orthoses (prostheses for the hand), and to properly use electrical stimulation in hand therapy.

A room dedicated to hand therapy was set up in the MSF clinic in Gaza City and outfitted with the necessary supplies. Posters showing rehabilitation exercises were printed. Today, 50 people are benefiting from this specialized care. Most are children. The common goal is to help them restore optimal use of their hands.

At the end of the MSF training, local health authorities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) office in charge of physical therapy organized a half-day workshop to share techniques and knowledge in the area of hand therapy.

MSF Trains Local Physical Therapists in Gaza on Treating Burns

On January 11, 2012, in partnership with the Gaza rehabilitation and physical therapy unit, MSF also trained physical therapists on burn treatment and rehabilitation.

The objective was to increase their knowledge and skill so that patients may benefit from the techniques and elective physical therapy treatment (splints, facial masks, and compression garments) and to alleviate the serious consequences—medical, social and psychological—that people with severe burns may suffer.

The physical therapists received more than six months' training—theoretical and practical—at MSF's rehabilitation clinic in Gaza City. At the same time, the three units specializing in burn care in the Gaza Strip (the Shifa and Nasser hospitals and the Sheikh Redwan primary care center) were equipped with necessary supplies (instruments and consumables).

At a ceremony attended by representatives of the Gaza authorities, the World Health Organization, UNRWA, and local and international NGOs, the six physical therapists who participated received a training completion certificate.