Getting a Former Pro Baller in Gaza Essential Medicine
“An athlete can always find the inner power to persevere” — Ossama, former pro basketball player
Ossama, 62, was once an international-caliber basketball player. In the old days, Ossama won several competitions and travelled around the world, representing Palestine.
He is retired now, but maintains an active interest in sports and their history.
Last year Ossama had a string of unfortunate news. His mother and one of his sisters passed away in quick succession. “[It] hit me so hard,” he says. “Right after, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.”
Ossama researched treatments on his own, which is how he first learned of the medication losartan. When he went to Al Huda Health Center in Gaza City for treatment, this was in fact what the physician prescribed for him.
The medicine is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and to help protect the kidneys from damage due to diabetes. It is also used to lower the risk of strokes in patients with high blood pressure and those that have an enlarged heart.
Ossama felt the effects of losartan right away and his health began to improve rapidly. Losartan is made available at Al Huda Health Center free of charge through Anera’s medical donor, Direct Relief.
The economic situation in Gaza is very difficult. Hospitals and clinics lack many essential medicines for chronic diseases. Medical donations are therefore an essential component of health care in Gaza.
Ossama says the donated medicine “alleviates a huge burden.” For him, this shows how critical the three organizations are in supplying frontline medical professionals.
“In this era of COVID-19, the fact that Anera [and its partners are] delivering humanitarian support is so indispensable,” he says. “People are living on the minimum to get by. I hope that Anera’s support grows so they can help treat more people like me.”
Ossama leaves the clinic stress free after the doctor assures him that his blood pressure is stable. He is going home with a clear mind, able to focus on his current passion: writing memoirs about Palestinian sports.
“An athlete can always find the inner power to persevere,” he says.
Special thanks to Direct Relief for donating the medicine featured in this story, losartan, among other medicines (including antibiotics, anti-hypertension, antihyperlipidemics, anti-inflammatories and multivitamins). The losartan potassium 50mg tablets in this shipment were distributed to 14 clinics and hospitals around Gaza. Al Huda Health Center, featured in the story, is part of Al Sakhra Association.