Taher Qassim addresses the gathering
Ramadan Reflections: Solidarity with Al-Sabeen Hospital in Yemen
7 June 2022
You may remember that we recently posted on Najla Al-Sonboli – a paediatrician working at a children’s hospital in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. Najla is involved in a ReBUILD for Resilience research study – Mapping the resilience capacities and coping mechanisms of health workers and other cadres in hospital emergency departments in Sana’a during protracted conflict and crisis in Yemen – and was recently the special virtual guest at a Ramadan event, hosted by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and attended by members of the local community, as well as several members of the ReBUILD team.
The event was a celebration of the linkages and solidarity fundraising that took place during Ramadan to support Al-Sabeen Hospital where Najla works. Around 70 people attended the celebration, including people from the Liverpool L8 community, and in particular community members with Yemeni heritage.
Amina Atiq performed three poems, one of which she specifically wrote about female health workers in war in Yemen. Sally Theobald of ReBUILD chaired the event and Shahreen Chowdhury of LSTM opened and welcomed everyone to the school. Amirah Scarisbrick introduced the ‘Ramadan Challenge’ where non-Muslims can experience the “sweetness of Ramadan”. Aakhila Fayaz and teachers from Archbishop Blanche spoke about their experience of taking on this challenge at the school where 34 teachers fasted for one day, and the community cohesion and understanding this generated. Others shared their reflections and learning from the undertaking, including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital paediatrician, Melissa Gladstone, Beth Hollihead and other LSTM colleagues. Genna Dhalie discussed her experience of cooking for and supporting the fasters while LSTM master’s student and Jordanian doctor, Nour Essale, discussed her course learning about Yemen and health care challenges in war.
We then paused for delicious food provided by women-led businesses from Liverpool 8, who had supported the Ramadan Challenge. Saba Ahmed and Louise O’Brien explained about habibti Liverpool and the solidarity fundraising links with Yemen – see their Facebook page. Najla Al-Sonboli joined through a pre-recorded message where she explained how monies sent during Ramadan had been used to buy basic food packages for very vulnerable families and staff at the hospital. Taher Qassim, who like Najla is LSTM alumni and from Yemen (more on Taher on the LSTM website), talked about the situation in Yemen and the power of mainly-women-led solidarity.
Wesam Mansour of LSTM and ReBUILD then introduced the new research project, ‘Mapping the resilience capacities and coping mechanisms of health workers and other cadres in hospital emergency departments in Sana’a during protracted conflict and crisis in Yemen’ that will be undertaken in collaboration with Al-Sabeen and Al-Thawra hospitals in Sana’a. This was an excellent opportunity to share in brief the study with the Liverpool Yemeni community. Wesam and Sally closed the meeting and people stayed on to talk and write notes of support to Najla, staff and families at Al-Sabeen hospital, which were very well received.