We have initial plans to limit the amount of outside help that children in Gaza need, by providing better training for existing doctors, as well as provide information and educational materials to the communities of Gaza and the West Bank.
This program offers hearing aid fittings, and also aims to create more awareness and counselling services to the families of hearing impaired children.
By screening school children, we hope that detection of injury and congenital hearing and vision defects are discovered early, and tackled, before the child experiences difficulties in learning and socialising without suitable support. 10,350 under 5 year olds will be screened.
There are also plans for two rehabilitation centres for post-cochlear implant operations in which patients and their parents can visit and gain the support and ongoing care that is crucial for this sensitive and life-changing procedure.
Two trained CBOs (Community-Based Organisations) will be equipped with the human and technical resources to provide appropriate rehabilitation following eye and ear operations.
Our plans also include routine tests of newborns for immediate detection of congenital hearing and vision defects.
Primary Care-based screening services for conditions including glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy will be incorporated into healthcare in the region too.
Furthermore, an excellent opthalmic surgeon is to be brought to Gaza on secondment to carry out anterior and posterior chamber surgery; which is a complex procedure to preserve sight.
Al Fakhoora is also collaborating with the Ministry of Health in Gaza to set up an advanced ophthalmic department with top quality surgical equipment, to provide better quality interventions.
To date Atfaluna have screened 2216 children, 379 of which have been found to suffer from hearing problems.
33 of this number will receive advanced screening tests.
The technical specifications for the required medical equipment for the Atfaluna rehabilitation program have been determined.
Through our work, we hope to raise awareness amongst children and parents about hearing; how to care for your hearing, how to spot poor hearing in your children and how to care for your hearing following an operation.
We want to advocate on behalf of the hearing impaired and recognise their needs within the occupied society.
Learning, employment and personal fulfillment are hard enough for entirely able people living in the occupation, and we want to give and demonstrate our support to those struggling without treatment and recognition.
By distributing more information, we hope that our resources, and teaching, are then used to best and lasting effect.
In incorporating those early checks into primary health care, we hope to implement the care that we can to lessen or combat sight and hearing defects.
Additional resources, expertise and education will contribute significantly to reducing operation waiting times and increasing opthalmic surgical capacity.