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January 15, 2021

“Supporting Health and Rehabilitation Services in Gaza through Internship of Medical Graduates”

In 2020, 53% of the population in Gaza live below the poverty line and 80% of the people rely on external aid to survive. Life in the Gaza Strip has a negative social and psychological effect on the residents due to daily constraints, poor economic circumstances, political instability and harsh living conditions. This influences the ability of the community of Gaza to generate an income and to cope with daily challenges.

Islamic Relief South Africa launched the “Supporting Health and Rehabilitation Services in Gaza through Internship of Medical Graduates” project to improve the food security status young graduates from vulnerable households in the Gaza Strip.

The project also aims to contribute to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable groups in the Gaza Strip and to support the continuation of health and rehabilitation services to the Palestinian community in Gaza Strip. The graduates joined civil society institutes which enabled them to gain practical skills and establish relationships through networking with the institutes while empowering communities. All interns were inducted through a training programme which briefed the graduates with their positions, duties, rights and responsibilities. The team was further trained by the Baytona Association for Community Development & Improvement which included training in dealing with persons’ with disabilities, as well as gender based violence and humanitarian assistance. This internship also provided the institutes with much needed labour to prevent them from shutting down due to lack of funds. Prior to the implementation of the Islamic Relief Medical Graduate Internship project, institutions suffered from a lack of funding, which led to the reduction or suspension of rehabilitation services, despite the increasing need for their services in the Gaza community.

The project targeted 65 graduates with medical majors in all governorates of the Gaza Strip, including 36 females and 29 males, who were sorted out to the 9 civil society institutions working in the health field. The project provided assistance to 25,553 individuals who are in need to a health services.

The project allowed the institutions to resume services that were previously suspended or stopped, by aligning their needs with the qualifications of graduates. This resulted in the resumption of essential services and improvement in the service of the institutes. Civic amenities the field of nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, counselling, occupational therapy, chefs, doctors and prosthetic technicians. A total of 43,404 individuals who need health and rehabilitation services indirectly benefited from the project.

The effect of the project was to provide temporary job opportunities for university graduates for a period of 5 to 6 months, by a rate of 8 030 working days to meet their basic needs, and to enhance their access to adequate and safe food, and to gain professional and practical experiences. The paid internship programme addressed the lack of economic access to sufficient, adequate and nutritious food, the interns were paid for their services which empowered them to purchase food and essentials items. The interns selected for the programme were selected from underprivileged households, 92% of the graduates faced high food insecurity levels, and 100% were severely food insecure, 70.2% of the family members were forced to sleep without eating because of food shortage in their homes.

The graduate were paid monthly wages that was above the pay scale and allowed them to be able to improve the situation within their households and fighting poverty. The project enabled the institutes to continue providing essential services to the Gazan community and preventing a shutdown of key departments.

19 graduates were able to continue their posts as permanent employment while 17 will continue with their hosting institutes getting per diem, 13 will continue as volunteers.

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