Chairman’s letter – December 2018

Chairman’s letter – December 2018

Christmas in Palestine

“From the beautifully lit city of Bethlehem, the Golden Dome of Jerusalem, the ramparts of the old city and the ancient markets of Nablus I write to you. 

Life here is vibrant and colourful. However, as we know, after scratching the surface matters are much more complex and arduous.

Visiting the 2 medical schools in the West Bank, Al Quds and An Najah exposes the shortage of staff and the resource stretch in teaching facilities.

The main Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem, Hebron and Ramallah are at breaking point. The demand is huge and the financial resources are very limited. 

Despite all this there is a strong sense of determination and optimism. Talent is abundant and so are the brains. I met 2 of our ‘alumni’ over the last 2 days. Naji Mousa and Bashar Jaber are 2 recipients of FQMS postgraduate training support, now proudly playing significant roles in treatment of female cancers and colon cancer respectively. FQMS continues to support medical education here.

On a sad note I, and the wider FQMS family, mourn a wonderful man and supporter of Palestinian medical education, John Beavis. John passed away a few days ago. He took me on my first trip to Palestine in 2011 and held my hand as I fretted about going through Israeli immigration in Tel Aviv. John is not a man to be forgotten. 

The FQMS annual gala is on the 23rd March 2019. We decided to move it to a Saturday and hope that you will enjoy it more being rested rather than exhausted after a week at work. I hope you’ll join us. We can’t stress enough how even a £10 donation adds up to a significant amount. 

Please keep your generosity going and send us any donations, however large or small, even in advance of the dinner.

See you on the 23rd March.”

Khaled Dawas FRCS
Chairman of Board of Trustees

Adeola, surgeon at UCLH, and her trainee, Naji, who’s training in London was supported by the Juzoor partnership.
Accommodation Update – November 2018 Newsletter

Accommodation Update – November 2018 Newsletter

 

I am Mahmoud, a 6th year medical student from Jenin. This is my 3rd year using the flats. In my personal experience, living away from my family proved to be difficult at first, but being able to stay at the flats with my fellow colleagues and friends really helped me in my studies, I was less homesick when surrounded by students who are also far away from their families. It is always better to wake up at 7:30 to reach the hospital than having to wake up at 5 or even 4 am in order to make it on time! This way I have more energy and I am more focused.

 

 

 

I am Sundus, a 4th year medical student from Tubas. This is my first week at the Hebron flats, I am so excited to be part of this experience as I always heard my older friends talking about how they make study groups, cook and go to hospitals together. I submitted an electronic form to the accommodation committee and they found accommodation for me for the bridging month rotation. Tubas is very far away and I always wanted to experience the teaching methods in Hebron hospitals so I am very glad, but we are increasing in numbers and we need more rooms. This year was really crowded, as more students needed accommodation.

 

 

 

I’m Bahera, a recent medical graduate from Bethlehem. I used the Ramallah flats for 3 consecutive years. I am so grateful to have been able to find a place where I can study and attend 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. Our requests were always met and whatever problem we faced we always found help.

 

Hadeel’s Update – November 2018 Newsletter

Hadeel’s Update – November 2018 Newsletter

I am thrilled to tell you about an event which I organized together with two other mentees from Palestine, Asma and Shahed. We decided to host a volunteering activity to bring mentees together around a good cause. In particular, we volunteered to help children who are going through cancer. This is the first of a series of social activities which we will organize in Palestine.

We enjoy playing, dancing and singing with 20 children with cancer. Our goal was to make the children happy and to bring a smile to their faces. In addition to offering moral support to the children, we also provided material support by offering breakfast to the patients. We really enjoyed our time with them and we are proud that we succeeded in lifting their spirits.

Clinical Skills Laboratory at IUG – October 2018 Newsletter

Clinical Skills Laboratory at IUG – October 2018 Newsletter

Simulation training offers the learner an opportunity to develop and enhance skills that are necessary for use in clinical practice.

In the Faculty of Medicine of the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), students regularly train and learn in the clinical skills laboratory. More than 400 students from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 benefit from this opportunity on several occasions each year.

Students in Year 3 learn and practice basic nursing and medical skills such as intravenous cannulation, blood taking, blood pressure measurements or intramuscular injections. Use of the skills lab in Year 4 focuses on training in medical examination skills, as well as more advanced practices, such as urinary catheterisation, lumbar puncture or placing chest drains. For Year 5 and 6, the skills laboratory is used for training in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, more advanced emergency, surgical and medical skills as well as advanced adult, paediatric and neonatal life support skills.

A further important aspect of the clinical skills laboratory is that it offers the opportunity to practice teamwork skills in order to work together to achieve one common goal. Therefore, regular simulation teaching with clinical scenarios also take place in the skills laboratory.

Finally, the skills laboratory is used for clinical examination purposes from Year 3 through to Year 6, where OSCE style examinations are conducted within the clinical skills laboratory.

Many thanks to FQMS for funding the purchase of the needed equipment in the skill lab on behalf of the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG). These models will be used all year round for training the medical students in most of the courses, and examining the student’s skills during OSCE examination.

 

Dr Anwar Alshaikhkhalil
Vice-Dean, Faculty of Medicine,
Islamic University of Gaza

Anatomy Models at AQU – October 2018 Newsletter

Anatomy Models at AQU – October 2018 Newsletter

Al Quds Medical School (AQU), established in 1994 as the first Palestinian medical school was deficient in cadavers for Anatomy teaching. This stems from cultural norms which prohibit cadaveric dissection.

Accordingly, AQU resorted to computer-assisted learning (CAL) in this topic and the use of diverse mannequins and models that match human anatomy topography. Procurement was not possible due to the prohibitive cost. Luckily, and with the kind assistance of FQMS we managed to buy the initial batch of Anatomy manikins which served our Anatomy instruction till 2013, when the yearly intake of the medical school was around 60 students.

In 2013, the policy of the university made it imperative to increase the number of new enrollees to 150 and thereafter by yearly increments of 40, until we reached an intake of 300 students in 2017.

This imposed a heavy burden on our Anatomy facility coupled with the fact that many of the original models became useless from wear and tear over the years.

This necessitated the Faculty to establish a new Anatomy lab to accommodate the increased number of students and to replace a lot of the old models acquired since 1994. Again, FQMS has miraculously come to our assistance by approving the purchase of new Anatomy models to equip the new lab.

The list of Anatomy models covered all the body parts and musculoskeletal bone structure. Without this new facility, the medical school would have found it difficult to teach the practical component of Anatomy discipline and this would have jeopardised the delivery quality of our curriculum.

In addition, the medical faculty delivers Anatomy teaching to Dental, Pharmacy and Nursing students thus putting a great burden and intense need for a second Anatomy lab with the installation of new purchased Anatomy items.

I have to register my sincere thanks and great appreciation for the assistance FQMS has provided and is still sustaining this help to AQU. Without this ironclad support Al Quds Medical School mission would have been hampered immensely.

 

Hani Abdeen BM. FRCP (UK). FCCP
Dean SoM Al-Quds University
Abu Deis – Jerusalem East
Palestine

Faiza’s Bursary – September 2018 Newsletter

Faiza’s Bursary – September 2018 Newsletter

My name is Faiza, a 19-year-old Palestinian girl from Gaza, I am about to complete my second year at the General Medicine faculty of Al Azhar University of Gaza. My dream to become a doctor was guided by my full awareness that it is a noble profession for serving humanity and the world we live in. I worked hard throughout my school years and graduated high school with a GPA of 98.8% and started my journey at the Medicine college in 2016, acknowledging that medicine is a field that demands both hard work and good financial status.

Thankfully, my parents have supported my dream regardless the burden of my education costs, as they were both employed, working only to provide my four siblings and me a good life and quality education. It was all good until last year when unfortunately my mum lost her job which timed with the worsening of the situation in Gaza and my dad stopped receiving his full paycheque. My parents started to suffer, no longer able to pay the requested tuition and I became seriously worried of the possibility that I might not be able to enter my final semester exams nor register for the summer courses of 2018.

I started to look for donations and sponsors, until I was referred to FQMS. I wrote them an e-mail asking for support. I cannot describe the feeling of knowing that there is finally someone there to help. I was able to enter my semester final exams and put all my focus into doing well and raising my GPA, and I passed all my courses with great marks and I got the highest GPA since the beginning of my study here in Al Azhar!

I would like to thank FQMS for their support and kind consideration of my status, no words could ever explain the joy and gratefulness my family and I had when I received that email, not everyone can realise what blessing it is to suddenly and out of nowhere have a major crisis worked out. I cannot spoil the moment by thinking of the burden of the coming year’s tuition, as we must always believe that there is always a window of hope.

Ayham’s Bursary – September 2018 Newsletter

Ayham’s Bursary – September 2018 Newsletter

I decided to study medicine at university, because being a doctor means the future is full of hope, the hope that I can give it to people and make them suffer less from their diseases or injuries. Once I achieve my degree and my internship in Gaza, I will specialise in brain surgeon. It’s a specialty that can help people here in Gaza, because people often have to travel to receive treatment and while people waiting for referrals and visas the diseases can get worse. I want do research and studies that related to this field and try to add something to it, something that will make the humanity suffer less and giving it the hope.

Unfortunately last year, my father died leaving me and my mother and 3 brothers. We live in a rented house, neither my brothers nor me nor my mother work and the only source of income is my father salary from the government. Two of us are studying at IUG and the other two are still at school. The tuition fees are very expensive and I was worried that maybe I could not continue with my dream of becoming a doctor.

Thank you for this money. We are all so happy that I was chosen. It helped me to enrol for the next semester at IUG, helping me to continue my way to becoming a doctor.

The Madrinha Trust Event – August 2018 Newsletter

The Madrinha Trust Event – August 2018 Newsletter

We partner with The Madrinha Trust on undergraduate scholarship. Since this partnership began, they have sponsored 15 of our students, 5 of which have graduated and are now working in Palestine.

This event was aimed at updating everyone on how the mentees were doing and demonstrating the success of their new buddying-up scheme, which adds another layer of support for the students by partnering them with former mentees. Both the mentees and the buddies offer vital support, giving the mentees confidence to thrive.

 

Here are the graduates from this programme:

Majd – Al Quds – 2016

Ayman – Al Quds – 2017

Mahmoud – IUG – 2017

Raneen – Al Quds – 2017

Haytham – IUG – 2017

 

 

 

Here are our current students in this programme:

Angham – An Najah

Hadeel – Al Azhar

Hisham – IUG

Khaled – Al Azhar

Majd – Al Quds

Mahmoud – Al Quds

Asma – Al Azhar

Mohammed – IUG

Najwah – Al Azhar

Shahad – Al Azhar

 

Mohammed’s Elective – August 2018 Newsletter

Mohammed’s Elective – August 2018 Newsletter

On 24th November 2015, I was accepted to do an elective in Oxford in July 2017. It was the most wonderful thing I have ever heard. I didn’t realise then that my way would be difficult.

My first visa expired before I could leave Gaza, because Rafah crossing was closed in June and July. I was offered a new position in November 2017, but again I was unable to reach Oxford, which was a real shock!

Finally, I managed to leave Gaza in 16th December 2017, but I only had two weeks left on my second visa. I had to try and figure out whether I could go directly and extend my visa from there. As it was nearing the Christmas break this wasn’t possible, so I decided to go to Jordan do an elective and reapply from there.

It was my first time outside of Gaza after many failed attempts. I was enthusiastic and, to be honest, a little afraid. Being away from my family is so challenging, but also I am working in two ways, the first is to do elective in Jordan, and the second is to get a new visa for the UK.

In Jordan, I did 1-month-rotation in the Surgical Department in Jordan University Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Nader Al-Bsoul. It was my first time to scrub in as an assistant in thyroid surgery and it was really amazing to participate in such delicate surgery.

I also took part in sessions with other Jordanian students who became friends and we have many trips together. It was my first time to form connections with non-Palestinian individuals and it feels good to have discussions with them about common problems Arab are facing nowadays, about medical schools and our plans for the future.

On the other hand, I was working really hard to get a new visa to join the elective programme in Oxford. Everything was going very well until I unexpectedly was refused. At that moment, everything turned upside down. I was so upset, those days were hell-like. After 3 days, Rafah Crossing opened again and I travelled back to Gaza.

Despite many challenges and problems and the fact that I failed to reach Oxford, I am really proud. I am one of few medical students who took the risks and travel to pursue their dreams despite the political situation around us. Not being able to go back to Gaza and attend my final exam and graduation ceremony were my greatest fears.

This journey added a lot to my personality and my thoughts. I took responsibility of my whole life from A-Z. I can say now that I am more confident and daring. From a scientific and practical view, I realized that medical graduates from Gaza’s universities are rival to those from other countries and they can compete very well.

I always remember the quote that says, “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness”; so do not expect your way to be easy, you have to fight for your dreams.

Chairman’s Report Winter 2017

Chairman’s Report Winter 2017

We, at FQMS, are gearing up to the busy time in our calendar. The annual FQMS fundraising dinner is on Friday the 2nd March 2018 in Central London. The dinner planning committee is led by Dr Ahmed Massoud this year and he already has his hands full.

This year many of the elective students from Palestine were unable to travel for various reasons. The UK visa requirements have become more stringent and none of the 6 students I expected in our surgery department at University College London Hospital made it. The situation for the Gaza students has been as difficult as ever, as the closure of the Gaza strip continues. The few students who managed to get out then had delays of many weeks trying to get home. This was also the case for the IUG Medical School Vice Dean, Dr Anwar Al Sheikh Khalil, after attending a conference FQMS supported him with.

On a positive note our partners, the Oxford University Surgeons and Physicians were in Gaza in October on their annual teaching week. Not only do they deliver excellent teaching, they also give the students and faculty a much-needed show of moral support. A message that they are not forgotten.

Of our most recent postgraduate trainees, Dr Najib Salameh has embedded smoothly into the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College London and Dr Maha Akkawi is enjoying her training at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

The partnership we have with the Madrinha Trust continues to blossom. We are very grateful to them for providing 4 new full scholarships to medical students from Al Azhar Medical School in Gaza. These very generous scholarships cover existing debt as well as future tuition fees. A further student has been sponsored fully by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. I have succeeded in convincing a key Madrinha trustee to join Dr Lina Nashef and I on our upcoming visit to the West Bank. Sui Chin McKeand will meet the deans at Al Quds and An Najah MedicalSchools in Jerusalem and Nablus respectively, plus doctors financed by the Trust in the past.

The AGM this year was held in October at Dr Jeanne Frossard’s beautiful home in Maida Vale. On a final note, we are so delighted for our trustee Dr Rawya Charif who got married recently. Alf mabrook (a thousand congratulations) Rawya!

I look forward to seeing you in March. Please keep us in mind for your charitable donations. Our website has an easy “DONATE” button.