In Gaza, Sutures are Life Savers

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The Public Aid Society in Gaza handles about 70 surgeries a month. That means an ever-increasing need for proper-sized, quality sutures. But that essential element was lacking until ANERA's delivery of an AmeriCares shipment of sutures. The new supply has changed the life of the clinic's patients, especially women.

With this donation, doctors are now able to use the appropriate sutures for the appropriate tissues. "Sutures vary between natural and artificial," explained Dr. Ziyad Abed el Jawad in the Society's Surgery Department, "We use the artificial sutures to coat the internal tissues. Vicryl antibacterial and mono sutures are very important during the surgical operations." He added that the sutures are absorbed in seven days and don't leave scars.

Without the donation, doctors were sometimes forced to use any type of sutures for healing any type of wound. "This misuse was due to the unavailability of the different types of sutures in Gaza and it increased the risk for patients of complications and wound irritation," said ANERA Warehouse Manager Mostafa Ghosein .

"In one case, a woman arrived in labor with her second child and we found sutures from her first delivery. If this woman has any internal inflammation, a diagnosis does not identify the cause as inappropriate sutures. She could have lost the ability to bear more children because of that," said Dr. Abed Jawad. "Thanks to ANERA's help we have the proper, high-quality sutures, something we have been lacking for more than two years."

Dr. Abed el Jawad also expressed his concerns about the deterioration of health services and the diminished supply of proper medical products at local hospitals since Gaza's borders were closed more than two years ago. "Sadly, we have received sutures with no company name or expiration date so we don't know its source," he said. ""We had a lot of patients with infections after the operation because the suture stayed for 30 days and the body couldn't absorb it."

According to Dr. Abed el Jawad, the cost of importing sutures is prohibitive. One carton of sutures cost 60 shekels ($16) outside Gaza. "The donated sutures from AmeriCares are a life saver," he said as he proudly pointed to the shelf filled with the new supplies.

When the hospital opened in 2005, its main goal was to help poor and needy patients, using the limited resources of the Poor Patients' Fund. The facility provides ultrasound services, surgery, maternity, pediatric and internal medicine clinics.

American Near East Refugee Aid
To learn more about ANERA, please visit http://www.anera.org/.