Eye care in Palestine: A ray of hope for people affected by the conflict

Omar (6) during a medical check before his eye surgery.

Specialised eye treatments are hardly possible in the Palestinian territories. Our partner St. John Eye Hospital provides children and young people with emergency surgery and treatment to overcome visual impairment and eye injuries.

"I am happy that my son did not have to leave Gaza to do this surgery as permits might not be issued to any of us," says Yousef Mazen Al Ayoubi, relieved and grateful for the free surgery. His six-year-old son is Omar, a boy who suffered from cataracts and almost lost his sight. He underwent cataract surgery, in which the lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens.

Such specialised operations are hardly feasible in the Palestinian territories. For the past 16 years, the Gaza Strip in particular has experienced a blockade by Israel, which has had devastating effects on the supplies of the people living there. The freedom of movement of the Palestinian population is restricted, only a few people have a permanent and secure job that supports their families. Basic services often break down in the densely populated areas when there is tension or violent conflict with Israel.

Emergency treatment of eye injuries and eye diseases

The May 2021 clashes had left severe destruction in Gaza City, which also affected the health sector.

During the clashes in May this year alone, 230 Palestinians were killed. 19 health centers were damaged and the Hala Al-Shawa clinic was destroyed. For this reason, the St. John Hospital in Gaza stopped its normal operations and focused on the treatment of eye patients, whose number had increased not least due to the violent clashes. The team from St John Hospital, which has been supported by Johanniter International Assistance in the field of eye care and eye sugery for many years, also treats cases like Omar at the hospital in Gaza City.

Better learning and more freedom thanks to emergency eye surgery

Our experienced partner St John Eye Hospital has been treating retinal diseases for many years.

"My son can see his family and friends clearly and is actively participating in school," Omar's father says after the successful surgery. "His school performance has improved after the surgery, he can now do his homework, read and write very well." He is also now able to move freely without assistance and leads a normal life like his brothers and friends.

In Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza, Johanniter and its partners support people with disabilities with further projects to improve their access to the labour market and strengthen their economic participation. The emergency aid project for the treatment of eye diseases and injuries is financially supported by our donation alliance Aktion Deutschland Hilft.

Help for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Johanniter and its partners are helping particularly affected Lebanese and Palestinian families during the economic and political crisis.