Physicians Make Home Visits to Cancer Patients in Gaza
Donated medicines provide essential supplies for mobile clinic
When Aziza noticed a lump in one of her own breasts, she ignored it. She had seen how her sister suffered and she didn’t want to prolong her own illness. Unfortunately, her worsening symptoms made the cancer difficult to ignore. A neighbor contacted Caritas for help.
Dr. Haya Al-Agha with the Caritas mobile clinic in Gaza visited Aziza in her home. She said,
“She cried as we provided treatment and support. She told us that it had been years since anyone had shown her kindness like this. There is so much pain that no heart could handle: poverty, sickness, and loneliness all mixed together.”
Aziza’s poverty and the condition of her makeshift house pose further dangers to her health. Haya observes,
“It is not just about the poor plumbing and lack of ventilation or electricity. It is just one room with a tin roof. It’s heartbreaking.”
The mobile clinic’s team treated Aziza’s symptoms at her home, cleaning with saline the ulcerations covering her body. Anera provided the saline solution, which was a medical donation from Americares. Americares also funded the shipping costs, and Islamic Relief USA paid for the clearance and local transportation costs. Saline is used topically or used intravenously to clean wounds, clear sinuses and treat dehydration. The Caritas medical team advised her to seek surgical consultation, and Aziza promised to do so.
Zaheyya, also 73, lives with her sons and their families in Deir Al Balah. Zaheyya has reached her age in generally good health. But in the last few months her family noticed that she was less active and losing weight.
After her family took her for a checkup, Zaheyya was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Her family was afraid to take Zaheyya to the hospital after authorities announced the growing community spread of COVID-19 in Gaza. As an older person, she is in a high-vulnerability group for the virus.
The family asked for an alternative solution, so the Caritas mobile clinic, in full personal protective equipment, provided her chemotherapy session at home.
The treatment caused recurrent vomiting, as sometimes happens. So the Caritas team returned to give her fluids and an anti-emetic. Her family is relieved to see Zaheyya receiving appropriate treatment, even if the side effects are harsh.
Dr. Haya comments,
“Poor families can’t afford chemotherapy treatments like this, especially in the current circumstances. We’re glad we’re able to provide the care she needs. This is only possible because we had the right medicine on hand.”
Anera has delivered saline solution (0.9% sodium chloride solution, 100ml) and Ringer’s solution to 13 clinics and hospitals across Gaza. Americares donated the solution and funded the shipping costs. IRUSA covered the clearance and local transportation costs.
The views expressed herein are those of Anera and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of Islamic Relief USA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.