The clinic, marked by a small sign, is located on a small side street in Gaza. The exterior is pockmarked by bullets and mortar fire. Five years ago, Israeli and Palestinian forces fought in this street. Today, mothers and older siblings hold babies and small children, some squirming, some sleeping, while waiting for medical care.
The Shija-ai Clinic is one of three clinics operated by the Near East Council of Churches. It is also one of the few places that still functions in Gaza as medical resources become scarce. It monitors the weekly, monthly, and yearly development of 22,000 children. Even before they are born, their mothers come to the clinic for prenatal care. The staff say that about 38 percent of the children have serious anemia and need the iron supplements that are available only at the clinic. Doctors and nurses carefully chart each child’s weight and growth, and physiotherapists play gentle games with the children to see how they are developing physically and psychologically. The staff and mothers work together on treatments and programs to keep the children healthy despite their dire surroundings.
Gaza’s 1.8 million people are locked in on all sides by Israel and Egypt. Unemployment is over 50 percent, nutritious food is expensive, and at any moment, air strikes can happen. Trauma is a daily experience for these children and the staff who treat them. Nevertheless, the doctors and nurses continue to heal and support the children in their care.
Thank you for your gifts to Mission & Service, which help fund this clinic through our Mission & Service partner, the Middle East Council of Churches’ Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees.
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