Turkey clinic ‘running out of prosthetics’ for Syrians

Doctors at one rehabilitation centre say they’ll be unable distribute artificial limbs by February due to high demand.

Like most children her age, Shahhd al-Mobarak loves to play and explore.

But, while out one day with her brother in Syria’s war-ravaged Aleppo province, the shy, young girl’s life was nearly snatched away from her.

Government and Russian air strikes that have laid waste to several parts of the country, killed her younger brother and seriously wounded her mother, Shahhd’s father told Al Jazeera.

Shahhd survived the incident, but lost her leg, and with it, the possibility of a normal life.

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Over the last six years, millions of Syrian children and their families have had their lives disrupted, upended or destroyed by the Syrian civil war.

More than 10,000 children have been killed while countless others have been maimed, losing their arms or legs in air strikes or shelling.

Unable to find suitable care in Syria, each month, dozens of wounded Syrians are fitted with prosthetic limbs at two free clinics near the Turkey-Syria border.

But with an escalation in hostilities, employees at one rehabilitation centre have told Al Jazeera that they are struggling with limited funds and a growing demand. If things do not change soon, they will be unable to offer free treatment and therapy beyond February.

READ MORE: Syrian prosthetic clinic brings hope

Doctors at a clinic in Gaziantep told Al Jazeera that they were treating all Syrians, including government soldiers, who had lost body parts in the war.

“We treat them regardless of ethnicity, colour or religion,” Dr Hamza Diab, an orthopaedic surgeon, told Al Jazeera.

“As a medical team, we don’t look at controversial issues. We simply receive them and treat them.”

While Shahhd is happy that she can finally walk unaided, the prosthesis she received is far from ideal. Heat builds up where the artificial limb connects to her body and it can cause problems, like skin infections and blisters, that can make wearing it so painful she has to take time off school.

Source: Al Jazeera