Bring the injured children of Gaza to British hospitals for treatment. We can and should help them | Arminka Helic

EThat very day in Gaza, 10 or more children Lose one or both legs. The health systems that were supposed to care for them lie in rubble. Most hospitals have been forced to close due to fighting, shelling, and blockades. Countries that are still functioning are overwhelmed, understaffed, and desperately short of supplies. Amputation surgery is performed without anesthesia. Failure to maintain basic infection control standards.

Children who could have been saved are dying. A British doctor working to help children in the area told me about LS, a three-year-old boy who lost most of his family in the atomic bombing. He suffered severe burns to his lower back, pelvis and legs. After significant delays, he was finally evacuated to Egypt to receive treatment. Sadly, it was too late and LS he passed away on Christmas Day 2023.

Hearing his story reminded me of a hurt child again. In October 2012, I was working as an advisor to then Foreign Secretary William Hague. On the train back to London from the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, I started seeing news reports about a young activist for girls’ education in Pakistan being shot. Malala Yousafzai, just 15 years old, was riding a school bus when Taliban gunmen boarded the bus and shot her in the head and chest.

Malala survived the initial attack thanks to life-saving surgery performed by Pakistani doctors, but her condition remained critical and required specialist treatment. I called the Foreign Minister and he immediately agreed that if we could help, he would.

The next person to call was Ed Llewellyn, Prime Minister David Cameron’s chief of staff. With the prime minister’s approval, the government worked with Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates to finalize the plan. On October 1, Malala was flown to the UK and admitted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The hospital treats many injured British servicemen and women and is excellent at caring for and rehabilitating gunshot wounds. Over the next few weeks and months, she received the professional care she needed, helping her rebuild her life and continue her education and activities.

Like Malala, many children in Gaza require specialized care that cannot be provided locally. Children are particularly vulnerable to blast injuries and burns from explosive weapons. They have more severe wounds on more parts of their bodies. Even those who survive are likely to face severe disabilities. As the child grows, the prosthesis must be replaced periodically, sometimes requiring surgery each time. And for many children in Gaza, any hope of aid has been dashed. WCNSF (abbreviation for “wounded child, unsurvived”) is a term used in the dictionary to describe the huge number of children left with severe injuries and no relatives alive to care for them. appeared on.

We can and should help. As with Malala, and in 2022, when the UK took in 21 Ukrainian children with cancer to continue their treatment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we faced the impact of the Middle East conflict. A path should be established for the children who have suffered the consequences to obtain life. Save money on UK healthcare.

A limited number of children facing urgent medical needs, whether direct victims of conflict or suffering from other serious illnesses such as cancer, will be temporarily brought to the UK for short-term treatment. There is a clear model for bringing Once their condition stabilizes and they begin to recover, they will return to the community to continue their rehabilitation, but with intervention and high-quality treatment in the UK, their lives will be turned around.

Some of the country’s best doctors and hospitals are ready and willing to provide world-leading, lifesaving, specialized care to children in Gaza.a group called project pure hopeMade up of senior doctors and medical leaders from across the UK, we secure support from leading hospitals and raise funds to cover our costs. They are working with doctors on the ground to identify children who need the most care.

In other countries such as France and Italy, already committed We can also provide similar assistance. However, the number of injured children is too high and requires an international effort. All that is missing is the political leadership to provide visas, logistics and funding to pave the way to the UK. What matters is speed. As the tragic case of LS shows, children targeted for treatment do not survive waiting.

The future of Palestine depends on today’s children. They should not continue to live with their trauma alone. War and its legacy of physical and psychological scars must not be allowed to become the defining experience of childhood and life in Israel and Palestine. Providing medical assistance is not only an act of compassion for the individual children involved, but also a symbol of our commitment to peace and a two-state solution.

In 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron acted to support Malala’s survival and continued advocacy. Now he and Rishi Sunak have the opportunity to show similar leadership and compassion for the children of Gaza. The UK has the medical expertise and capacity to help. There is clear precedent for action. Providing treatment to children will not end the war. But this is a step we can take right now, and it could be transformative for the children in our care.