Medical students examining a patient

Chairman’s letter – January 2022

Medical students examining a patient

We, at FQMS, hope you had a good Christmas. On a personal, light hearted, note I remain a sceptic of the New Year celebrations but was amazed by the number of firework displays and the volume of people out watching it at midnight when the London temperatures were 13 degrees. I also wish you a happy new year.
 
FQMS was very successful in maintaining its support of Palestinian medical schools last year. After the impressive series of webinars in the winter and spring we ran 2 further online events. One highlighted the plight of doctors and students working in Gaza during the Israeli attack of May 2021 and the other only a few weeks ago when our main guest, Dr Thabet Abu Rass gave a very interesting talk about the fate of some of the Palestinian villages depopulated during the 1948 war. In both events we heard from newly graduated doctors working as teachers in their universities with FQMS funded posts. We are very proud of these excelling doctors and their dedication and ambition.
 
We also welcomed 2 new trustees, Emma Keating and Bob Niven, who join us with a lot of unique attributes and verve. They have already contributed much to the eclectic mix of trustees we have. The FQMS board values the diversity, skills and integrity that its members possess.
 
We are now focused on the coming year and the planning of our fund raising strategy. The latter is usually planned much earlier but we are learning to adapt to the constantly changing pandemic environment. We do feel that there is webinar fatigue now. Please do continue to support FQMS. We may not be able to deliver many big landmark events but we do promise a high level of transparency, honesty, diligence and financial governance. We have close links with the Deans and plan site visits as soon as circumstances allow. We would like to expand our ability to support surgeons and physicians working in Palestine to learn from the UK NHS clinical experience. These doctors spend 2-3 years in the UK and return to Palestine with an invaluable insight.
 
We hope you will continue to trust us with you donations, however big or small.

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hala

Hala – Teaching Fellow

In 2019, Hala graduated with honours from An Najah National University. As a result she was selected as one of the first candidates for an FQMS funded teaching and research fellowship at her university.

Here is how she got on:

Working as a teaching and research assistant benefited me in a variety of ways. This year, I taught Art of Medicine course to third-year medical students. It was an incredible experience because I got to prepare students for the clinical years of their training by teaching them the art of taking patients’ history and how to perform a proper physical exam. It felt wonderful to help them expand their skills and knowledge.

I also worked in the Research unit, where I coordinated a research training workshop for faculty members. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this workshop was conducted via Zoom and included seven training sessions on research proposal and manuscript writing, literature review, referencing, critical appraisal, and data analysis. Personally, I benefited from this workshop; I enhanced my fundamental research skills and I am now working on many research projects.

The last year has been full of academic and personal experiences. I’ve built numerous relationships and connections with students and colleagues at the university and hospital, and I’ve enhanced both my clinical and research abilities.

I want to express my special thanks to the FQMS for giving me this opportunity and financial support throughout the year; it was extremely beneficial and built a strong basis for me to seek a residency programme. I hope this program continues to assist new grads in gaining this support in order to help them reach their goals.

Read more about the teaching fellowship programme

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Adam Wolton

Adam Wolton Obituary

It is with profound sadness that FQMS mourns the passing of Adam Wolton. Adam volunteered as our secretary between early 2011 and autumn 2014. FQMS, Palestinian students and doctors owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

When in 2010, David Wolton, long-serving FQMS secretary, and later chair, suggested to the trustees of FQMS and to his brother Adam that he take up the role of FQMS secretary, Adam agreed, perhaps not anticipating how involved he was to become. FQMS was at crossroads with a new chair and very much in need of his support. There followed four years of dedicated voluntary work in which he served FQMS at many levels. He played a crucial role in all aspects of the work of the charity, including responding to numerous approaches from deans, students, doctors and supporters, to transferring funds, liaising with the medical schools in Palestine and institutions in the UK and even generously putting visiting students and doctors up himself. His contribution was invaluable and greatly appreciated by all, as was his friendship. Adam also found himself co-organising various functions including an art exhibition and the annual dinner four times. The complex logistics of the first event, with a tight time frame, came as a shock to him, but he pulled it together and the evening was a great success, as indeed were the others that followed.

Adam had a most generous soul. He was calm, kind, warm, gentle and supportive without a selfish bone in his body, always putting others ahead of himself. He was a skilled cabinet maker, highly intelligent, very knowledgeable and an avid reader who enjoyed debate. Adam possessed a quiet sense of humour and an independence of spirit and thought. For some time, as a young adult, he kept to himself but then came out of his shell taking up various activities with enthusiasm. He returned to singing, having been a choir boy at school. In that, he found great enjoyment. Through his singing group, and much to the delight of his family and friends, he met his wife Emma. They moved to Norfolk near Emma’s family in 2015. Adam, still cycling everywhere, worked on his allotment and lovingly helped raise their two beautiful children. He also carefully planned to build an eco-friendly permanent family home, a dream for many years, which sadly remained unfulfilled.

To the great dismay of those who loved him, Adam was diagnosed with multiple ‏myeloma in 2017. Though he went into remission after intensive treatment, he became ill again earlier this year with what turned out to be amyloid, a complication of the condition. Even during his final illness, Adam played down his relentless symptoms and did not wish to impose on others. He showed courage, calmness and clarity in his last few days, a comfort to his family. He passed away overnight in the early hours of November 26th, 2021, less than a month before his 57th birthday.

In these hard times of the pandemic, when many have said goodbye to loved ones, Adam’s loss brings much sadness, not least to his wife and young family, his brother David, and sisters, River, Sarah and Deborah. Adam’s life was cut short, a life measured not in years but in its kindness and generosity. He will be very much missed.

The trustees of FQMS extend their deepest sympathies to Adam’s family.

Adam, on behalf of FQMS trustees and supporters and all the Palestinian medical students and doctors you have helped, thank you. You embraced our cause and made it your own. In you, we have lost an exceptional friend.

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Bakr teaching fellow

Bakr – Teaching Fellow

In 2020, Bakr graduated one of the top students in his class at the Islamic University of Gaza. As a result he was selected as one of the first candidates for an FQMS funded teaching fellowship at his university.

Here is how he got on:

“At the end of the last year, I became teaching assistant at medical school in the IUG. This job helped me so much in the different ways.

For example, I dealt with departments in the different hospital, which let me to discover how all of these hospitals worked and allowed me to build a lot of relationships with physicians in different specialities.

My focus was on helping with the teaching of paediatrics, family medicine, public health, forensics and dermatology. I got to know the students and saw how they developed throughout these courses.

Being a teaching fellow during 2020-21 was particularly difficult, as we had to cope with terrible sequence of the covid-19 and the closure of hospitals and university. But it meant that we started an e-learning programme to cope with this situation. We were the first university to use it in Palestine. We had faced many problems implementing it during this year, but towards the end we have finally succeeded in applying it.

Thank you so much to FQMS and their supporters for making this happen.”

Read more about the teaching fellowship programme

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Saleh teaching fellow

Saleh – Teaching Fellow

In 2020, Saleh graduated one of the top students in his class at the Islamic University of Gaza. As a result he was selected as one of the first candidates for an FQMS funded teaching fellowship at his university.

Here is how he got on:

“I am writing this at the end of this chapter of my life, with all my gratitude to the FQMS that gave me this opportunity to fulfil my abilities in development of the medical education and clinical skills in which allow me to upgrade my skills and knowledge as well.

I really had an amazing experience for being a teaching assistant in the last previous 12 months period. Experiences, relationships, friendships, and improvement in both communication skills and personality aspects have all changed my life to the better. It was really a year to remember!

I can’t tell how much this year meant to me, at the personal level, this scholarship has been a turning point in my personality as I became a decision-maker and more responsible than before. In addition to acquiring many great relationships with academics, colleagues and medical students.

Nothing can describe how considerably Team working with my colleagues achieved the expected results of our job as teaching assistants, and even how can dealing with students in a way that encourage and support them make the education process easier and healthier.

At the financial level, this teaching fellowship allow me to save an amount of money that in turn would help me complete my medical specialty.

I hope that such as these programmes will always be continued to help the new graduate youth in starting their career and profession as well as to make their dreams come true. As it did with me.

On behalf of all your fellows, thank you for giving us this great opportunity. We can’t be more grateful.”

Read more about the teaching fellowship programme

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Surgery

Can you help FQMS achieve our mission?

surgery

We are looking for new trustees to provide leadership and help shape the future of FQMS. Can you help?

Our aim is to create a future where Palestinian healthcare is self-sufficient backed up by excellent medical education. This would negate the need for patients to be referred for treatment away from home.

We are recruiting 2 new trustees to join our board, to provide leadership and help shape the future of FQMS. We are particularly interested in hearing from people with skills and experience in at least one of the following areas: Governance, Finance, and Law.

We know that diverse Boards make better decisions, so it’s important to us that we have a variety of perspectives and experiences represented. Our Trustee roles are open to everyone and we encourage applicants from all backgrounds.

I hope what you read in this recruitment pack will inspire you and drive your interest. We would like to hear from you, talk about your ideas and contributions.

How to Apply

Apply to admin@fqms.org and send the documents listed below:

  • An up-to-date CV – maximum 2 pages.
  • A supporting statement – outlining your interest in the role and how you fit the person specification. Include examples of your skills and knowledge gained from voluntary and paid work. Maximum 500 words.
  • Referee details – We need references from 2 people who can evidence your ability to work strategically at board level, and also your specialist knowledge, please include:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Position in the organization
    • Relationship to you
    • Telephone number
    • Email address

If you have any questions about the role or your suitability, please email admin@fqms.org.

Deadline: Friday 3rd September 2021

If you are accepted there will be a 6-month introductory / probation period to allow for mutual vetting.

Read more about how you can help FQMS

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Gaza destruction

Gaza update: Earthquakes in Gaza – a student’s story – 23rd May 2021

To the relief of the whole world, a ceasefire was declared in Gaza a few days ago. For those who live in the Gaza Strip those 11 days were a nightmare of death and destruction.

Gaza destruction

Shahad Al Shaer is a medical student at Al Azhar Medical School in Gaza City. She won a scholarship through a programme we run with the Madrinha Trust. Shahad wrote to us about the horrors of a night under the shelling in her home town of Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip.

“When night comes we all gather in one room which we think is the safest inside the house. Hours pass as if years and our greatest wish is that the morning light shines, announcing the start of a new day.

With every explosion you feel as if the missile is pummelling your home. I resort to the safety of the embrace of my mother and father, praying to God so that calm my fears.

When the missile lands near my house, my feet tremble and pain is inside my heart. Have I lost a friend or relative?

Entire families have been destroyed and their names have been wiped from the civil registry. This includes many children, women and elderly people, and even Dr Ayman Abu Alowf with his family. He trained us inside Al-Shifa Hospital. He was one of the most qualified trainers in Gaza for his great scientific experience. His loss has been a great sadness to us all, his students.”

The FQMS family is thankful for the safety of Shahad, her family and all our students and friends in Gaza.

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Gazan street to the hospital

Gaza update: Dr Saleh Eleiwa & Dr Bakr Abo Jared – 18th May 2021

FQMS financially supports Dr Saleh Eleiwa and Dr Bakr Abo Jarad. They work as teaching fellows in Gaza.

They qualified as doctors in 2020 and now teach medical students as apart of their duties.

Here they share their personal experience and photos from the last few days:

Images: Gaza at night and the street Bakr and Saleh travel through everyday to reach the hospital. It was bombed yesterday, 2 were killed scores were injured.

Dr Saleh Eleiwa

“On Sunday, our neighbour’s home was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. I’ve been in the hospital, volunteering in Emergency department to help as much as I can. My family and I are all okay for now. No one has been injured. But some of our beloved teaching colleagues and neighbours have not survived.

What’s happening is really a catastrophe. Literally, everyone everywhere is threatened. The nights are the worst. After dark the electricity is cut off and the bombing gets crazy. The airstrikes hit all parts of the Gaza strip.

We all are exhausted. We try to get some sleep, to take a break from what’s going on, but we can’t as everyone is targeted by the brutality of these attacks. From the large number of Israeli airstrikes, there can not be anything left to bomb.

We thank God every second we are still alive and pray for protection for our families and loved ones. I don’t remember crying that much as I cried when we heard that our doctor, the Head of Internal Medicine at Al Shifa Hospital, Dr Ayman Abu Alowf, was pulled out from under the rubble of his destroyed house. Killed whilst asleep with his family.

Thank you for your support and care. We hope that the truth will reach everyone about what really happening in Gaza and Palestine.

Dr Bakr Abo Jared

“Last week, Israel started its military campaign against us in Gaza, everything just stopped. So far, this war has left dozens dead and hundreds injured, including many students and trainers in our school. Over the weekend we lost Dr Ayman Abu Alowf, a physician and one of our IUG teaching staff, after an Israel attack on his home. 

Many of our students have lost their homes because of direct or indirect targeting. They now live in public school grounds. 

Successive attacks by Israeli aircraft have led to severe damage to most educational institutions, including the medical school building. We are all very worried, sleepless and looking to the heavens, wondering which house will be next.”

We pray for the safety of all our friends in Gaza.

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Gazan Doctors

Gaza update: Dr Ayman Abu Alowf & Dr Moeen Alaloull – 17th May 2021

Gaza hospital staff praying

FQMS mourns the loss of 2 prominent doctors in Gaza, both killed over the last 48 hours. We have also been trying to contact the students and trainers we work with in the besieged strip. There is no electricity most of the time so contact is difficult.

Dr Ayman Abu Alowf

Dr Ayman Abu Alowf

Dr Ayman Abu Alowf, 50, was killed when an Israeli bomb destroyed his house in the early hours of Sunday. He was a highly respected and valued General Physician as well as Head of Medicine at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Dr Alowf was born in Germany and studied medicine in Slovakia before specialising in Jordan. He chose to return to Gaza despite the hardship involved. He has been head of department for 8 years and was and was asked to lead the COVID response in 2020.

Dr Abu Alowf died with his parents, wife, all 3 children and his aunt. He leaves beautiful memories for the many who knew him

Dr Moeen Alaloull

Dr Moeen Alaloull

Dr Moeen Alaloull was a prominent Gazan neurologist who graduated from Ein Sams Medical School in Egypt and worked in Saudi Arabia for more than 20 years. He returned to help in Gaza in the 1990s and worked with mental health organisations. He became an EEG specialist and had recently retired.

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Update from Al Makassed Hospital, Jerusalem – 11th May 2021

Update from Al Makassed Hospital, Jerusalem – 11th May 2021

Jerusalem

Over the last few days the news coming out of Jerusalem and Gaza have been deeply troubling.

FQMS organised and funded the training of surgeons like Dr Bashar Jaber. Dr Jaber works on the frontline treating victims and patients at Al Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem.

Dr Jaber and his colleague, Dr Haitham Alhassan, Head of Surgery at Al Makassed Hospital, have sent us this update this morning:

During the last few days, in the holy month of Ramadan, there has been a serious escalation of violence against Palestinians worshipping at Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. 

Visitors to Al Aqsa Mosque have been attacked by the Israeli occupation forces and settlers with tear gas, sticks, rubber bullets, which are basically metal bullets covered with a thin layer of rubber, and bullets.

Hospitals of the occupied east Jerusalem were overwhelmed. The number of casualties on Monday morning were more than 300, reaching the hospitals in ambulances and private cars.

Al Makassed Hospital has received a total of 151 victims before midday. Many were admitted to the hospital. 6 patients underwent emergency operations by our surgeons from different specialities, two patients had direct trauma to the eye and lost their eyes.

Eye surgeons and maxillofacial surgeons were called in from other hospitals to help treat the wounded.

Today the victims continue to pile up with 220 arriving this morning at Al Makassed, 44 were admitted, 11 patients had operations, 3 maxillofacial operations, 2 laparotomies and splenectomies, 2 craniotomies for intracranial haemorrhage, one is in very critical condition, 2 patients had orthopaedic operation with vascular input due to complex injuries, 2 patients had scrotal explorations, one had a testicle removed. Few patients will have operations today to fix fractures of the face.

Al Makassed Hospital has declared this an emergency and is diverting all its resources to help the victims of current Israeli escalation.

FQMS helps to guarantee high quality medical education in Palestine and funds sub-speciality hospital training

Read about our postgraduate subspecialty training

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