“We came to Lebanon a few months after I was badly injured in an explosion in the Syrian war,” Jamal’s father Abed explained to us when we first met him in June 2017.
“I had a few operations in Syria but they all went wrong,” he told us. Ever since they came to Lebanon as refugees, his father hasn’t been able to work. The family have very little money and survive as best they can. They share a small room in an apartment with Abed’s parents, to keep the price down. “Renting is a lot more expensive in Lebanon than it was in Syria,” Abed adds. “Actually everything is more expensive in Lebanon!”
After everything that Abed had been through, the news that his wife Amal was expecting their first child was one of the happiest moments of his life. He couldn’t wait to meet his child, and had so many hopes and dreams for the future.
But Jamal was born with clubfoot on both feet. “We were very sad when we found this out. We couldn’t understand why a newborn child would suffer from such a thing…” However, despite this news, they still held onto their hopes and dreams for their firstborn child.
Searching for help
They immediately began to seek advice from doctors on what they could do. But each time they had a consultation, they were shocked to hear how expensive treatment for this was. In Syria, this treatment would have been free – but in Lebanon, where healthcare is privatized, medical help for clubfoot is lengthy and expensive.
The family began to lose hope that their son would lead a happy life. It was only when they were referred to INARA by Doctors Without Borders that the family began to hold onto their faith that things would work out for them.
INARA immediately brought Jamal to meet Dr Taha at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). Doctors informed the family that Jamal had a mild form of clubfoot in both of his feet, and presented them with a medical plan.
Over the space of a month, Jamal had casts fitted to realign his foot. Thereafter, the doctor taught his parents physical exercises that they would have to do with their son to improve his mobility. He would also receive Dennis Brown shoes that he will have to wear until he is three of four years of age.
After his treatment, his parents are still very anxious that his treatment won’t work. Improvement in his case is very slow and so they will still have some time to wait before they can say that his deformity has been fully fixed.
Despite this, the family are extremely thankful that their young son has got the treatment he needed. “We really thank everyone who has made this happen from the bottom of our hearts,” his father tells us.
Jamal's treatment was funded by UNICEF.