Medical equipment taken from Dubai for a charity that carries out pro bono surgeries for children in Palestine has been confiscated by Israeli authorities in Ramallah, said doctors associated with the charity.
Nearly 400 kg of equipment, medicine and toys worth millions of dirhams were seized on Friday despite it being the charity’s sixth surgical mission in Ramallah, said Dubai-based Dr Marc Sinclair, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon while speaking to Khaleej Times from Ramallah, West Bank. The team had visited Gaza once.
Dr Sinclair is part of UK-based Little Wings Foundation that holds surgeries in association with Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. The doctor and two nurses from the Children’s Medical Centre in Dubai met up with a surgeon, anaesthetist and nurse travelling from Germany to Jordan but were intercepted at the Allenby Bridge on the Palestinian border by Israeli customs.
“Our medical equipment consisting of donated supplies such as a surgical set, gowns, sterile sheets, dressings, sutures, painkillers, antibiotics and teddy bears for the children have been confiscated,” said Dr Marc. According to him, the team required a permit from the Israel’s health ministry.
“This is our seventh mission to Palestine and we have always travelled with the same paperwork,” he said fearing that the present backlash maybe due to the current situation in Gaza strip. The mission has now involved the German Embassy in Tel Aviv and hope to have the equipment released soon. “Without this equipment we will not be able to do all the complicated cases,” he said, adding that the team was in Ramallah only for a week.
The team carries out foot and hip surgeries on children correcting deformities such as bow legs and other congenital disorders common among Palestinian children. The team has screened hundreds of children and operates between 15-20 on every visit.
“We also refer identified cases abroad since not all surgeries can be done here,” said Dr Sinclair. The PCRF and Little Wings Foundation have identified two children who are expected to be brought to Dubai soon, he added.