Dr. Manal Abu Jiban is a Palestinian doctor whose family left Gaza when she was just a child. Now at 30, she has returned to her home village as a physician to help serve her community.
Dr. Manal Abu Jiban is a Palestinian doctor who was born in North Africa. When she was a child, her family left Gaza to seek a better and more stable life for their family. Life in Gaza was overwhelming back then, she says. Now at the age of 30, Dr. Jiban has returned to Gaza to serve her community as a physician.
She had always envisioned her village through the stories of her parents. Her father told her about the simple life of Wadi Salqa village. It was a rural community with that had few social services. Families would depend on home remedies using herbs like chamomile and anise to cure their ill children. “Home remedies may or may not have medicinal properties that treat or cure the disease or ailment in question,” she says when describing her father’s stories.
Dr. Jiban kept that image of her village in memories which gave her a strong incentive that one day she would finally make it home.
“I had to work hard, so I could offer something to them."
When she finished high school, Dr. Jiban wanted to pursue her dream of what she described as a “profession of humanity.” For her, being a doctor meant more responsibilities, tough challenges and being closer to humanity.
The village of Wadi Salqa has grown a little since her father’s day. It has a clinic that treats patients 24 hours a day. To her dismay, the health challenges in the village are enormous.
“The health situation in Gaza is deteriorating. It has been exacerbated by years of an unbroken siege and a tough economy. All of this has made it nearly impossible for people to get the treatment they need and deserve.”
Dr. Jiban spends most of her time in the village clinic as a volunteer. She examines patients and reads medical books when she is off duty. “It feels great volunteering to help those in need. By reading, I challenge myself every day to learn new things, so I keep myself connected with the advancements in the world of medicine,” she says.
Recently, Dr. Jiban treated Kinan, a five-month-old brought in by his mother Israa. Kinan had a sleepless night and was constantly crying with a high temperature. On top of these symptoms, he wasn’t eating and was clearly in pain.
After a medical examination, the doctor found that Kinan was coming down with an upper tract respiratory infection caused by bacteria and she prescribed an antibiotic for the baby. Dr. Jiban assured Israa that her son would get better.