Abeer, originally from Gaza, has been supported by FQMS to do her pathology speciality training in Egypt and Jordan. This summer we helped her do an observership at Christie Hospital in Manchester. Read about her experience and the differences she experienced:
“In pathology we say (you cannot separate passion from pathology any more than you can separate a person’s spirit from his body). The field of pathology is ever changing! That’s what makes it different from other specialties! The dynamics of change!
There is no doubt that training in different places has fostered my skill set as a clinician! I was privileged to train in three places, Cairo, Jordan and Manchester. Each place has its pros and cons!
Egypt pathology training
With a population of 97 million, Egypt has the hugest number
of cases any pathologist that I’ve encountered! Whether you practice at Cairo
University Hospital or Ain Shams Hospital, you are going to see a wide variety
of cases. However, most cases are directed to the private practice labs, some
of which are more advanced than the departments in teaching hospitals. In order
to gain enough experience I chose to volunteer at one of those private labs 3
days a week after work. This combined experience helped me master my gross
dissection skills and learn about different disease patterns! As a junior
trainee have to figure your own way to meet the international standards and be
able to practice independently!
Jordan pathology training
Pathology training in Jordan taught me to speak the
international language of pathology! College of American Pathologists (CAP)
protocols and WHO updates are followed on a daily basis! University hospitals establish
a solid base for independent practice with a safe evidence based approach. The
renowned King Hussein Cancer Centre is a referral centre for the entire region.
Having said that, the large and varied number of cases means working under
pressure and needing to manage your time carefully.
UK pathology training
This summer I was in Manchester. Manchester and all of the UK
has a different system. The UK uses guidelines set by the Royal College, which
is different from CAP. Big hospitals in UK are known for being the regional
lead in sub-specialties. For example, Christie Hospital it is oncology cytogenetic
and histopathology. Practising in one a hospital like this exposes you
to rare cases and the different microscopic features for each disease. It
introduced me to the power of subspecialty.”
I have just come back from the United Kingdom to my beloved yet still-besieged city of Gaza. During my 20 days visit to the UK (from 16th July until 3rd August 2019), I visited the historic city of Oxford where I was able to catch the final day of the EBM-LIVE 19 Conference. After that my schedule was very busy with useful meetings and talks.
Glasgow council chambers and was welcomed by 4 MPs and councillors. We discussed how to support Palestinians, especially in Gaza, by campaigning to lift the siege and the possibility of twinning the municipality of Gaza.
Dr Ibtahim Khadra – Associate Professor at Strathclyde University – and discussed with him the chances for getting more of our students to do postgraduate courses and receive grants.
Scottish Society of Art where we discussed how art and films can highlight the daily suffering of Palestinians. Also how films and art can help overcome the siege, by improving people’s mood.
I was also invited to give the following talks:
Clinical auditing and health service quality improvement by the Upper GI surgery department at UCLH.
Pain and palliative care issues at the Lancet Journal by Executive Editor Dr Tamara Lucas.
This trip was one of the most yielding and outstanding scientific trips I’ve had. Finally, I grab this opportunity to reiterate my sincere thanks and esteemed gratitude for FQMS and its management team. The timely financial extended to me during this trip by all, especially Khaled and Rita, and for their kindness and continued support.
Eyad was part of our postgraduate training programme for 2 years at King’s College London Hospital in orthopaedic surgery. He returned to Palestine in 2016 and now works at the Arab Care Hospital in Ramallah.
“I had huge benefit from my training. King’s College is a trauma centre, so I was able to increase my experience in orthopaedic trauma, as well as my specialty training as I did fellowship in knee and shoulder surgery. It was great experience. I learnt a lot!
When I went back home I started to apply things I learnt clinically. In the past there was no shoulder and advanced knee surgery, so any case had to be transferred outside Palestine. So to some extent I have reduced the number of cases that have needed to be transferred.
In the future, I’m planning to engage myself in the general sector to continue to reduce the number of transferred cases; also if I can I will help in teaching. Also I will continue to develop myself and to have new experiences, so I can help our people.”
“Throughout my training years in general radiology, I started to hear about a state-of-the-art branch of radiology called ‘interventional radiology’. In this branch, major interventional procedures are performed under image guidance.
Unfortunately, there are very few training opportunities in this field available in the Arab World. In Palestine, it’s much worse as only a few basic procedures are performed. This motivated me to apply through Juzoor and FQMS to do my subspeciality training at King’s College Hospital in London.
During the past year, I have learnt to do many procedures. From basic ones, like biopsies, to peripheral vascular angioplasties. During the upcoming year, I will get more training in oncological procedures and perform trans-arterial chemoembolisation (TACE) and aortic procedures (EVAR and TEVAR).
My plan, after I finish training, is to set up an interventional radiology practice in one of the main Palestinian hospitals. Through this I can reduce the suffering of my patients. Before they would’ve had to either get a more invasive procedure, like an amputation, or travel outside Palestine to get the required interventional radiology procedure.”
With Rima’s help, we had a sale table and a tombola with lots of high-quality prizes. Altogether we raised over £1,500.
We were lucky enough to have Dr Khamis Elessi, a Consultant in Neurorehabilitation and Pain Medicine in Gaza, attend our Garden Party. FQMS had supported his attendance at a conference in Oxford. Although problems with crossing at Rafah meant he missed all but the last day of the conference, he has talks scheduled at various hospitals before he returns to Gaza.
Our guests also got to talk with one of our trainees, Dr Maha Akkawi, and her family attend. For the last 2.5 years, Maha was training in haemato-oncopathology in Southmead Hospital, Bristol. She is about to return to Nablus, where she will be teaching and practising medicine at An Najah University.
To see more photos of our event by Antony Bennison, please go to our Facebook page. Please contact us, if you would like your photo to be removed.
“I am Maher, a recent medical graduate of Al Quds University from Bethlehem. For 3 consecutive years I used the Ramallah student accommodation during my clinical training years at university.
I am so grateful to have been able to find a place where I could study and do the medical rotations of my choice without having to worry about wasting time and money in transportation each day.
I made a lot of friends from different year levels. We shared tips about studying and how to deal with the patients; which benefited me a lot. Our requests were always met and whatever problem we faced we always found help.
Read about Ayman’s experience of our Gaza bus programme:
“My name is Ayman, I’m a 4th year medical student at the Islamic University of Gaza. I would like to thank the FQMS staff. They were kind enough to pay for our transportation expenses, making our lives much easier.
I honestly think that this funding made the majority – if not all – of my colleagues able to get to the European Hospital. It wouldn’t have been possible without it, because other forms of transport are too expensive for us.
In the beginning of my 4th year, my father asked me if the buses we were getting were paid. I didn’t know back then, which is why I didn’t know what to say when my father said, “I don’t think we will be to afford your transportation expenses.” Luckily thanks to your support this wasn’t a problem.
I am truly grateful for what you have done for us and I hope you continue on doing this awesome act of kindness.”
Read about Mohammed’s experience receiving a FQMS bursary. He is a student at IUG.
“Firstly, I want to thank FQMS for their concern about supporting the medical students in Gaza strip, especially in the current difficult economic situation, which we have been suffering from.
By receiving my bursary, it alleviated some of the financial burden required for medical school, which, in turn helped and encouraged me to focus more on my studying.
I have a family of six live in a house that has 4 rooms, my father works in Al Shifa Hospital in the maintenance department, my big brother graduated from IT college, my mother is a housewife, my other brother and sister are still studying in school.
I wanted to study medicine as it’s one of the most important Humanitarian fields and studying it gives me an opportunity to help myself firstly and then other people. In my opinion, I think that we have to work on stimulating the healing process of our bodies instead of the concentration on the management of diseases.
By receiving this bursary I can continue in my journey hopefully to work in research to provide an actual way of being healthy.