Thursday, 13 June 2024 11:25

Zouhair Lahna, a humanitarian doctor to the rescue of people in Gaza and Syria

In a country ravaged by five years of war and a determined president to crush the revolt, Dr. Zouhair Lahna was brought to the bedside of Syrian survivors. Whether in Sarmada or Al-Dana, this Moroccan gynecologist of 48 years old residing in France has invested repeatedly in humanitarian missions and provided medical training.

"In war, there are two camps, and in the middle, there’s a population that suffers the horrors of war," says the associative actor who has chosen a not so ordinary life. A Prime witness, he has a deep rooted vocation to help others "I have some medical science I am trying to share," he says, modestly.

Training in Syria

In November 2014 and March 2015, he has trained women of all ages who came from several locations in Syria in emergency obstetric techniques, in Bab Al Hawa hospital located on the border with Turkey.

"Many Syrian midwives are in this line of work without follow-up training. Others find themselves forced to learn this job as the crisis continues to grow. "

For his last training which ended a few days ago, he supervised dozens of women including "a former medical student who had to quit school, literature graduates, or struggling mother who did everything to attend the training. "

The latter, a widow of 35 years, started her career in the same hospital as a cleaner before learning the job to become a nurse, then midwife assistant and finally a midwife from experience. "She had tears in her eyes when she was given her first degree, a sign of recognition and encouragement."

Today, despite these heart-warming examples, the situation is extremely critical and the Syrian population lives in an acute sanitary and medical crisis.

"The health system has deteriorated. For many people, access to care is not provided and the situation is getting worse. Many doctors have deserted Syria. Others remained despite the crisis,” says the doctor who’s thinking about going to Aleppo to respond to the solicitation" of the only female gynecologist remaining in this city ravaged by war. "

Three missions in Gaza under attack

The humanitarian work of Dr. Zouhair Lahna dates back to 1999, when he attended his first mission in the Comoros. Others will follow in Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Libya, and even in Morocco, his native country, where he completed his medical training before specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in France.

In last August, he had to give obstetric surgery training to doctors in Gaza. A month later, the Israeli attack against Gaza began, this is the reason he scheduled an early trip and joined an association of Palestinian doctors. "Because of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, I became by necessity an emergency doctor who helps the wounded, cleans wounds, loose clothing or rather tear them to access and treat the martyred body."

For 51 days, he tried somehow to save lives in the operating room of Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza. "Injuries are often severe and multiple. Once the injured comes, we try to save him without animosity. Although the painful death is accepted as a destiny, an elevation, "he said, in a stoic tone. During the wars of 2009 and

2013, he had already visited Gaza to participate in humanitarian missions.

Projects in Morocco

In a week he will travel to Morocco for a project which he takes to heart: invest in a midwifery training project and fight against maternal morbidity in public hospitals. His perspective on the Moroccan health system is also uncompromising.

"Before the war, Syria had a more efficient health system than that of Morocco, which is very unequal. Inequalities between the rich and poor, urban and rural areas are striking. The treatments are expensive, medicine too. Quality care is delivered in private clinics while those who lack the means are left to themselves in public hospitals. This encourages corruption, causes medical errors and makes the Moroccan patient suspicious with regards to the health system, ".

But the most surprising thing for the doctor is that he finds it" more difficult to carry out his humanitarian work in Morocco than in countries at war."

This article was originally published in Medias24 website in French. All Rights Reserved.

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