Delivering trauma and rehabilitation interventions

Massive, forced displacement has become a staple of the intrastate wars that now constitute the main form of armed conflict globally. Mass displacement is no mere side effect of war. It is both a terror tactic used to intimidate civilian populations and a means of achieving ethnic cleansing and resource control.

It is known that Ethiopia has been dragged into conflict unwillingly following the provocative acts of the terrorists group TPLF. And subsequent to the inhuman atrocities, lootings and tortures by insurgents of the terrorist faction; hundreds of thousands people were forced to flee their living places and shelter in adjacent areas.

In places where the rebels had invaded, they committed number atrocities. They massacred civilians, vandalized and wreaked public facilities and private properties, displaced fellow citizens and worsened their economic status, disrupted the normal patterns of living, and led many to immense sufferings and psychological traumas including stress, depression, and hopelessness, among many others.

To curb the impact and restore humanity; lending hands and healing the psychological trauma is becoming the call of the day.

Efratana Gidim is one of the woredas in North Shoa Zone of the Amhara State that was affected by the ill will acts of the terrorist TPLF and Shene groups. The people living in the area suffered the most. Public and private facilities looted, destroyed, elderlies, children and women displaced, gang raped, tortured and many have been exposed to psychological traumas.

Dr. Abel Gezehagni Ataye Health Center Medical Director said that the town and the health facility were vandalized and 90 percent of the health center was damaged. The town was flipped upside down by the attacks that resulted in young and elderly communities as well the health professionals to misery and trauma.

The residents had witnessed firsthand community violence and abuses, shootings and burnings of neighbors’ business centers, vandalizing of public and private properties. The impact was great on the community. Due to the fierce attacks of the TPLF and Shene fighters, ninety percent of Ataye (Efesson) health center was vandalized and demolished. Professionals at the health center and the communities were also exposed to post-traumatic stress disorder, he further noted.

However, following the concerted and inimitable efforts of the government, partners and stakeholders in restoring and re-equipping damaged and vandalized facilities, the health centers have started providing services and the people are receiving treatments. The response made by Jewish Voice Ministries International, in this regard, was special and exemplary.

As to him, the Ministries, apart from taking part in restoring the facilities through supplying donation, it had contributed a lot in offering healthcare services to the communities voluntarily. Over four thousand residents of the Town and communities in the vicinity have received treatments by the Ministries.

“By assigning a medical team to the town and rendering free services that ranges from carrying out minor surgery to dental and eye treatments and offering medicines for free, they supported the community substantially,” he remarked.

What makes the undertakings of the Jewish Voice Ministries International special is that the medical team concurrent to offering healthcare service to localities, its psychologists performed psychological treatment to health professionals, and let those gain and share experiences.

According to Dr, Abel, the effort helped pull out many residents and health professionals out of depression and psychological traumas.

Finally, he called on other civic societies and partners to extend efforts in helping the war torn Ataye Town and the community.

Birtukan Mamush, a resident of Ataye Town, kebele 02, is the one who had received treatments by the team; and underwent minor surgery.

“All of us, at least once in our life, have gone through some type of traumatic events which scared us emotionally. We had been severely frightened as a child; or exposed to awful moments. However, the predicament we had faced as a community was unbearable. In a broad daylight, innocent civilians were killed; tortured, and public and private properties were looted and vandalized.”

Mentioning she had suffering from some type of illness and could not get medication because the health facility was vandalized and demolished, Birtukan said that however, now she is cured owing to the treatment she received from the Jewish Voice Ministries International medical crew.

What is more, the medical team has helped villagers by providing them with psychological treatment, through practical engagements within the community.

Anteneh Wondimu is the other patient who received psychological treatment. Expressing his happiness for the service he received, he said that the service has helped him to think in different ways; be compassionate to others and to look forward.

Dr. Adane Berassa, Ministries’ Country Director also noted that the psychological burden villagers had experienced was an unbearable.

“We witnessed that the Town was robbed and vandalized highly. The services the health facilities were providing were very limited. We have supported the communities and health professionals who were themselves in depression and physiological traumas. We have decided to partake in this kind of volunteer activity because we do have a moral obligation.”

As to him, in accordance with the assessment the organization conducted, they executed productive activities by sending a crew of physicians that comprised Gynecologists, Dentists, Dermatologist, and Optometrists among others and joining hands with local health professionals and administrative bodies.

Residents of adjacent kebeles of Ataye (Efesson) Town including Senbete, Karakore, Efrata Gidim woreda got the free medical services, it was learnt.



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