By Paige Freshwater
Victims of the Syrian civil war will be helped by a Wirral plastic surgeon who aims to form a UK-based specialist team to visit the war-torn country.
Ali Juma, 54, who works at Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Barnston, recently returned from Tripoli, Lebanon, where he was treating children caught up in the conflict.
Having worked with US-based organisation LEAP Global Missions, which provides surgical care for those in need around the world, Dr Juma now wants to set up a UK care team offering long-term treatment for patients.
He said: “Having been there and going there [Lebanon] for the last couple of years, I joined the American [specialised surgical services] team. The first time I did was January last year, and we went to Jordan and treated the more acute injuries.
“The patients were a mixture of adults and children. Then, this year, we did the same thing but the majority of our patients were children.
“This was an incentive for me to start thinking about establishing something in the UK and going out there more frequently as well as joining the American team once a year.”
Hoping to visit the region twice a year, Dr Juma recently helped nearly 100 patients who had injuries from shrapnel, bomb blasts and severe burns.
“I think it is time to give back. After seeing all of the children who are injured and then seeing them smiling at you that is what makes you think that you want to come back and do some more,” said Dr Juma.
“The continuation of care for all patients is important because an operation is only part of the care of the individual. The before and after-care is very important for the success of what you do, and without the continuation of care your outcome isn’t going to be very good.”
Speaking of his plans to create a UK-based care team, he added: “What I am thinking of is having more involved surgeons and doctor surgeons, like myself, but on top of that having more supporting mechanisms like nursing assistants in theatre.
“It would also be helpful, especially when it comes to burns and hand injuries, to have an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. It would be good to create some sort of support for treatments and train the local physiotherapists, doctors and nurses to carry on beyond what we can provide.”