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Physios provide emergency aid in Gaza

10 September 2014 - 3:19pm

Four physiotherapists were among a team of rehabilitation specialists deployed to Gaza to support people injured during the recent conflict and provide training to local rehabilitation staff.

visit to patient in house with significant damage, being treated by Handicap International team with input from UK physiotherapist Rosalie Barrett, Gaza. Photo: RuthAnn Fanstone/Handicap International

Visiting patients in-house, CSP member Rosalie Barrett (bottom left) works with the Handicap International team in Gaza. Photo: RuthAnn Fanstone/Handicap International

The team set off from the UK on 7 September. Its members, drawn mostly from the NHS, belong to the UK International Emergency Trauma Register of British medical and health professionals trained to provide humanitarian aid in emergencies overseas.

The register is run by the charity UK-Med and funded by the Department for International Development. Training and logistical support is provided by the charities Handicap International and Save the Children.

Among the team is Rosalie Barrett, clinical lead physiotherapist at Hounslow and Richmond community healthcare NHS trust. She said: ‘Through our training with the trauma register we have a fantastic opportunity to use our professional skills, and to work alongside our colleagues on the ground in Gaza to provide training and rehabilitation for those who have been injured.’

A spokesperson for Handicap International said the team is the first of three from the UK which will be working in Gaza.

He said all the UK teams will be embedded in Handicap International’s existing outreach teams, who have been working throughout the crisis to provide rehabilitation and other essential services.

Handicap International reports that more than 11,000 Palestinians were injured in the most recent crisis. Additionally, some specialist rehabilitation facilities in Gaza were damaged or destroyed. The team will help with specialised training and equipment so that local staff can provide the best possible care. The main injuries include amputations, spinal cord injuries and fractures.

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