Gaza – Ma’an – Ten children returned to Gaza from Slovenia on Friday, fitted with prosthetic limbs thanks to a rehabilitation project initiated by Slovenia’s president, Danilo Turk.
The children, who lost limbs in Israel’s attack on the Strip in December 2008, were treated at Ljubljana’s Institute for Rehabilitation.
President Turk visited the West Bank shortly after the war, and promised that the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, set up by the Slovenian government in 1998, would offer its expertise and support to Gaza’s child amputees.
Last year, 32 children were flown to the Slovenian capital where they were fitted with artificial limbs and trained to use them.
Child amputees constantly outgrow their prosthetic limbs, and need regular re-fittings. The campaign, co-sponsored by the US, Sweden, and South Korea, also brings physiotherapists and doctors from Gaza to Slovenia to receive specialist training.
Qatari emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani visited the latest round of children to benefit from the project in the Slovenian capital, and donated €100,000 to bring another group of children to the center.
Healthcare in Gaza is severely restricted by Israel’s four-year siege. Israel controls what medical equipment is allowed inside, and Palestinians must obtain permission to receive treatment at specialist hospitals in Jerusalem, a lengthy and often unsuccessful process.
More than 260 people died in Gaza last year because Israel refused these permits, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health estimates.