Friday, January 28, 2011

Red Cross expands only artificial limb center in Gaza Strip

From The Canadian Press. In the picture, Palestinian specialist Abdullah Selmi adjusts an artificial limb at the Artificial Limbs and Polio Center in Gaza City.

The international Red Cross has expanded the only artificial limb centre in the Gaza Strip — greatly increasing the territory's capacity to serve residents who have been wounded during decades of conflict with Israel.

The Artificial Limb and Polio Center treated 2,800 patients last year and has a waiting list. The second-floor addition will cut waiting time, and offer larger clinics and new limb-testing machines.

The Gaza municipality, the Red Cross and Islamic charities collaborate to run the centre, established in 1974. Raw materials from Germany are used to manufacture limbs at the centre.

The Red Cross says demand for services jumped 64 per cent last year. The centre's director, Hazam Shawwa, said Thursday the increase is connected to Israel's military offensive in Gaza two years ago.