Rabat – Humanitarian Physician Zouhair Lahna has announced his choice to return to the center east to continue his assist work in battle zones.
Lahna is a French-Moroccan physician who has spent 20 years of his life serving to and caring for people who are affected by struggle in battle zones throughout the world.
The physician has additionally launched humanitarian tasks in Morocco to assist those in want. This consists of refugees fleeing conflict in their nations of origin.
Physician Lahna, nevertheless, admitted that he confronted a number of challenges whereas operating in Morocco.
Sadly Lahna feels that he can’t understand his ambitions for humanitarian help in Morocco. He blames the lack of progress in the well being sector for this.
Nevertheless, the physician didn’t deny that he enjoyed spending 85 % of his time in charity work in Morocco after his preliminary return from Palestine in 2014. Physician Lahna says that he can’t remorse the moments he spends serving to any patient
Prior to his determination to depart Morocco, the physician shared his love for volunteer work in an interview with Morocco World Information at his house in Bouskoura, Casablanca.
For Dr. Lahna, volunteering is just not a interest or an arrogance venture however a calling and a human obligation.
“I received my academic training in France, where I gained an important experience. I had to apply what I had learned to helping people all over the world, especially in my native country, Morocco.”
The 50-year-old father of four acquired his educational coaching in Casablanca and then in France, where he specialized in gynecology and obstetrics. Instantly after graduating from medical faculty, Lahna decided to dedicate his time to humanitarian work. He started volunteering as a surgeon with Médecins Sans Frontières/Docs With out Borders (MSF) in 1998, and had the alternative to work in a lot of African and Arab nations, together with Ethiopia, the Comoros, and Rwanda.
The humanitarian state of affairs in Gaza
After a quick experience in Afghanistan in 2002, Dr. Lahna took on certainly one of the most influential experiences in his personal and professional life. Together with colleagues at MSF, he responded to the needs of individuals in the West Financial institution who’re underneath Israeli aggression and siege.
Over the previous 12 years, the surgeon visited Palestine seven occasions—4 journeys to the West Bank and three to the Gaza Strip. It was throughout his first experience in Jenin area in the northern West Bank the place he offered coaching courses in laparoscopies.
During the Israeli siege and bombing in the Gaza Strip, hospitals experienced great strain. The variety of urgent instances admitted in these hospitals reached greater than 50 instances per day, an unusually excessive degree of admissions in contrast with other hospitals internationally.
Dr. Lahna comments on the state of affairs: “War alone means death, let alone if this war is accompanied by harsh weather conditions and siege.”
The physician admitted that his experiences in Palestine have had an incredible impression on strengthening his sense of altruism and obligation. “When I returned from Gaza,” he stated, “I decided to allocate 80 percent of my time to volunteering. Life is very short; I have to devote a part of it to help victims of war.”
Time as a volunteer in Syria
Two months after he left the Gaza Strip, the surgeon went on to go to Syria 9 occasions, principally in the province of Idlib to uncover that the state of affairs in Syria was “much more difficult than Gaza,” he stated.
“Statistics show that about 780 health facilities have been bombed and hundreds of doctors have been killed under the rubble of hospitals,” he advised Morocco World Information.
Final yr, the World Health Group (WHO) said that “[s]even years of conflict have devastated Syria’s healthcare system. More than half of the country’s public hospitals and healthcare centers are closed or only partially functioning.” The variety of individuals in need of well being help has exceeded “11.3 million people, including 3 million living with injuries and disabilities.”
“The regime considers all the doctors alike, whether you agree or disagree with it,” he stated. “Everyone who helps Syrians belongs to the opposition,” he says. After the bombing of medical amenities, “all foreign doctors left [the country] for fear of the regime, and only two doctors stayed with me: one French and one English.”
The risk of damage or personal danger did not forestall those that selected to remain in Syria from persevering with to assist the victims of the bombing. “Despite the difficulty of the situation, the experience included a positive dimension. I worked with a big association called the Union of Syrian Relief Organizations,” he added.
Outdoors the framework of international well being organizations
Dr. Lahna’s experiences as a rescue doctor and an teacher made him see life via a less inflexible perspective— free from the limitations of politics, and the dichotomy life and dying, particular person and group, or “I” and “them.” He determined to undertake individual initiatives in the beginning of 2011: “I chose to volunteer on my own because I felt that international organizations were tightening up on me and limiting my freedom to go to all areas of conflict in Syria and Yemen.”
“International organizations are working in these areas with local doctors because they do not want foreign doctors to be in danger. They also prevent doctors from talking to the media,” he stated. “I almost work in the same fashion as these organizations, but I do not care about insurance, accidents, death, etc.”
Challenging the blockade and rescuing conflict victims in Yemen
Dr. Lahna could not turn a blind eye to the suffering of Yemeni individuals caught between the civil warfare and the Saudi-UAE-lead coalition, which imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on Yemen following the army intervention that began in March 2015.
The blockade has inflicted untold injury on the dwelling circumstances of the Yemenis. It induced a humanitarian catastrophe and contributed to the deterioration of varied sectors, including well being, to the extent that the United Nations declared in April 2018 that “Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
In 2016, the United Nations reported that 600 medical amenities had been closed due to the battle as well as the lack of primary gear and medical personnel. In addition to which, 70 medical amenities had been destroyed solely. Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw said in Might 2014 that over half the nation’s population was in need of humanitarian assist.
In November 2017, the World Well being Organization said that the number of individuals suspected of cholera in Yemen had reached almost half one million individuals.
The lack of access to well being amenities due to bombing has proved a strong weapon towards Yemeni civilians. The warfare has disrupted 50 % of well being amenities and medical personnel in 18 % of all districts in Yemen, in accordance to the United Nations.
After many attempts, Dr. Lahna was in a position to enter Yemeni soil in 2018. “After I was tired of trying, I went to Bangladesh in a relief initiative for Rohingya Muslims, and there I met a young Syrian working for an American organization operating in Yemen.”
After a interval of research and planning, he was in a position to go to Al-Jouf and Marib hospitals, collaborating with an area basis referred to as Hayat for Aid.
In addition to aid work, Zouhair shared his expertise with native medical employees in Yemen via the training of two teams on aid operations and obstetric surgical procedure; as many as 30 docs and nurses benefited from the training. “When I train a group of doctors in a particular place, I leave and I am reassured that I have left [behind] doctors able to provide help for the injured.”
Turning into the “doctor of the poor”
Dr. Lahna has established a personal clinic in the metropolis of Casablanca in Morocco offering free remedy providers to two classes of sufferers: the poor and refugees coming to Morocco. He lately established Injab Middle in collaboration with a basis bearing the similar identify in France and Morocco.
Injab Middle is a ladies’s reproductive health middle that targets the well being and safety of infants and lactating ladies. “Women are the backbone of society, that’s why I chose to save the life of the mother and the fetus.”
He also contributed to the improvement of volunteerism where he grew up and lots of Moroccans call him “the doctor of the poor.” “I come from a social class that is deprived of basic health care, so the issue of paying attention to this simple class is very important to me. Medicine is my only weapon; it is the means I have chosen to help people in need.”
Being a volunteer physician in numerous nations to rescue victims in areas of conflict made him criticize the Arab rulers’ silence in the direction of the suffering of victims.
“I regret the lack of solidarity in the Arab countries which reveals the absence of any vision among Arab officials who do not consider that they may live the same strife and pain at any moment.”