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Al Hamshari Hospital in Lebanon: Bringing the smile back to Dunia's face

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Dunia is a bed-ridden 3 year old refugee Palestinian girl who lives in a tiny apartment in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Dozens of pills and medicine bottles cover her nightstand. Her father, Wissam Ma'arouf, takes care of her and has to feed her seven special meals every day and to provide her with oxygen 12 times per day.

Dunia is paralyzed and deaf. Until a few months ago, she was also sight-impaired. Moreover, she suffers from epilepsy. However, since Dunia started receiving treatment at PRCS Al Hamshari hospital in Sidon, her situation improved and her immune system is much stronger now.

"Dunia can now see and hear better. Thanks to the hospital's teams, she managed to take a few steps and her epilepsy is less severe nowadays", said her father, who works as a painter and who is very happy to see his daughter's condition improve. "A new life started for us when the EU and the Dutch Red Cross Society came to our rescue and covered the costs of Dunia's treatment", he added

Dunia had at first received treatment at the American University's Hospital in Beirut. The costs were high and Dunia's parents could no longer cover them. But ever since Dunia started going to Al Hamshari hospital, things have changed.

Dunia's father expressed his gratitude to PRCS and to Al Hamshari hospital, which, according to him, is just as good as the AUH, and even better because the hospital's staff is well acquainted with Palestinian culture and background. He felt much more at ease at PRCS's hospital.

Dunia, the family's only child, takes up most of her parents' time. "I feel as if I have a second job. I feed Dunia, I watch her while she sleeps and I massage her legs. These tasks require several hours per day and I have been doing them for the past three years, every day", her father said.

Dunia requires an oxygen concentrator at all times. She is one of the patients who benefited from the project aimed at improving health services provided to Palestinian refugees and to the most-needy in Lebanon, implemented by the Dutch Red Cross Society in cooperation with PRCS/Lebanon. It targets patients whose medical charges are not covered by any organization, patients from difficult social and economic backgrounds who cannot afford the costs of treatment, patients referred by the project's social worker and certain patients known to PRCS and not considered by UNRWA as coming from a difficult social background. The Project also covers certain patients admitted to PRCS hospitals including pregnant women from challenging social or economic backgrounds as well as unprivileged foreign patients.

Al Hamshari hospital is the central PRCS hospital in Lebanon and is located within the Fathi Arafat Medical Compound which also comprises the main storehouse and Al Quds nursing school. The five-story hospital was established in 1987 near Al Miya Miya and Ein Al Hilwa refugee camps in Sidon and contains 80 beds. It operates 13 external clinics, a physical therapy section, a dialysis unit and many state-of-the-art fully equipped sections in addition to four operating blocks.

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