With the support of our partners Action for Child Trauma International/IMET2000/Firefly International, in July 2019 we launched a pilot service for children in Gaza suffering from severe symptoms of psychological trauma. So the clinic has now had its first birthday! With remote clinical supervision from Jordan by Dr Ghalia Al Asha, it is run in Gaza by psycho-social counsellor Mohammed Sharef and psychologist Haitham Shamiyah. Together they provide one-to-one treatment for children, plus trauma awareness-raising sessions for their wider families and communities. A steady flow of at least five new cases are referred to the clinic for treatment each month. Since January 2019 longer-term follow up of children has begun, showing that they continue to feel better for months after their treatment is completed. Mohammed and Haitham have worked hard to keep in touch the children and their families throughout the period of coronavirus lockdown, which has inevitably limited activity over the past three months. But we three partner organisations have just agreed to extend funding for the service until the end of June 2021 because we can already see how effective it is in helping children most severely affected by the ongoing violence in Gaza.
We wish Mohammed, Haitham and the Gaza Child Trauma Clinic a very happy first birthday!