My name is Wissam Abu Ammar. I work as a Gynecologist. I have my Masters in Public Health and I also have a diploma in statistical medical research. I came to Gaza in 2000.
In spite of all the problems, the blockade, the social, economical and political problems in Gaza, the people here are supportive. They are kind people and love peace. We believe in peace.
I love my job. It was my dream when I was a kid to help poor people. When I was thirteen years old my dream was to be a doctor.
Every day I work at Shifa hospital. I am responsible for the only early cervical cancer early detection unit. It’s the only unit in Gaza and I am the only woman who works there.
We perform caesarean sections for women. When a woman is worried about the procedure we reassure her. I say, ‘don’t worry; I’ve done this before!’ Some women say they love to come to me because I always smile. They are comfortable with me.
I look at the face of a woman when I do an ultrasound and she sees the baby move in her abdomen, it’s a lovely moment.
But sometimes we do routine ultrasounds and we diagnose a miscarriage. When I give the news to the woman patient, I stay alone with her for some time without the nurse, and tell her what has happened. I must be very reassuring. It’s a difficult moment.
We have a generator, but we have no fuel and we have a problem with hygiene. The staff clean as much as they can but the hospital is still overcrowded. They can’t do any better. The governmental hospitals in Gaza are suffering from many problems like overcrowding, lack of electricity, hygiene, and manpower. We don’t have enough doctors and nurses, or medication.
Our main problem is cancer; mainly breast cancer and colon cancer and we have no program for early detection or screening in Gaza. Diagnosed cancer patients must travel outside Gaza to complete their treatment and receive their drugs. It’s not easy because of the blockade and the political issues. When you want to travel to Egypt, you must register your name first, and maybe you will get your permit after six months. But maybe you will die before you leave.
After the war many people were interested in Gaza. All the journalists and social media were talking about the suffering here. We had many people who helped us and helped the people. They brought antibiotics, fluids and syringes.
But they only remember us after the war. We still have an economic crisis. We still suffer from the blockade and political conflict. They help us for a few weeks but then they forget us.
Despite the political crisis we are still alive, and we hope to have a better life for our daughters and our sons. I think our kids are not aware of the circumstances in which we live or about the future that awaits them. I try to not explain to them what is happening. My kids asked me this morning; “mama will there be a new war tomorrow?” I tell them no.
I hope to die in this country. We don’t have a garden, we have no trees, and even the sea is polluted. In spite of that we love this country. In spite of what we are suffering, in spite of the situation in Gaza, I still love it. Each street, each house, everybody. I love the women in Gaza. I love the people here.
“I love my job. It was my dream when I was a kid to help poor people."
Doctor Abu Ammar