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News Release

Palestinians and Jews work together
to act on the health crisis in Gaza

March 15, 2007

A group of Palestinians and Jews in Toronto are holding an event to raise funds for primary health providers in Gaza. The event will be taking place on Sunday, March 25 at Lula Lounge. It will feature Palestinian and Jewish musicians, a three course meal, and a silent auction.

Gaza is experiencing a devastating disintegration in public health, mental health, and primary health care delivery. According to Dr. Robert Horton, editor of the Lancet, in a recent article in the New York Review of Books, there are desperate shortages of medical specialists. Diagnostic facilities are unavailable to large sections of the population and procurement of medicine is difficult.

Children make up 60 percent of the population of Gaza. A survey conducted by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) and published by the World Psychiatric Association found that 99 percent of children had experienced the shelling of their home and that 96 percent had witnessed shooting and fighting and explosions that had often led to injuries or deaths. Frequent sonic booms created by the supersonic flight of military planes are distressing and frightening to children.

"As a physician, I am extremely concerned about these children and the effects of this ongoing trauma and the deteriorating health care situation in Gaza in general" says Dr. Miriam Garfinkle, a family physician in Toronto

"As a clinical social worker dealing with children and trauma, I am deeply disturbed by the situation in Gaza " says Reem Abdul Qadir M.S.W., a therapist in Toronto. "Without a sense of safety and hope, what kind of future will these children have?"

Together for Gaza is sponsored by Palestine House and Yosher: Jewish Social Justice Network. All the funds raised with be directed to grassroots primary health care delivery programs in Gaza: a group of clinics run by the Union of Health Work Committees and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.

It will take place on March 25th at 6:00 pm at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West.
Tickets are $100.00 per person. $60.00 will be a charitable donation. To purchase tickets, please email: miriamswell@hotmail.com or casfourawad@yahoo.ca.



For more information and/or interviews, please contact:

Dr. Miriam Garfinkle
Reem Abdul Qadir
Dina Awad (French interviews)

www.gcmhp.net and www.uhcc-pal.org/English/uhccprog.htm

Disaster and Mental Health: The Palestinian Experience by Eyad El Sarraj, M.D. and Samir Quota, PhD.

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