Side Views

Yemen: A new leg for bus driver Nur ed-Din – International Committee of the Red Cross

December 04, 2012

Noureddine stands on his feet again, without the crutches. Now he can be the bus driver he always wanted to be. – Copyright ICRCNoureddine stands on his feet again, without the crutches. Now he can be the bus driver he always wanted to be. – Copyright ICRCDEC 4 – Nur ed-Din is a slim-built, quiet-natured 17-year-old young man who looks to the future with great hope. He goes every day to the physical rehabilitation centre in the Yemeni city of Taiz to receive training while awaiting the final fitting of his prosthesis.

Nur ed-Din’s ordeal began one year ago while he was taking a walk in his village. He was struck by a stray bullet which, being lodged in his right foot, led to its amputation and replacement with wooden crutches. He continued in this situation for about a year until he heard of the city’s physical rehabilitation centre which was being supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“I did not expect anything in the world, not even the prosthetic centre, to compensate the loss of my leg. However, my family, and especially my mother, encouraged me. So here I am awaiting the artificial leg.” That was how Nur ed-Din commented on his regular visits to the centre. He went on to say: “After a while the time came to receive the prosthesis, which was fitted.” Nur ed-Din quietly put aside his crutches and left the centre walking on two feet with a smile on his face.

The team working at the centre played a major role in fabricating the prosthesis and training Nur ed-Din to use it and be able to walk normally again. Nur ed-Din’s dream was much simpler; he wanted to become a bus driver.

Before leaving the centre, Nur ed-Din said: “I am able to walk without crutches. My mother, who is waiting for me impatiently, will be so happy to see me walking on my feet once again. I can now say that I will become a professional bus driver. I have been given new hope of leading a normal life and would like to thank all the staff working in the rehabilitation centre”.

The physical rehabilitation centre, which is located in Al Thawra hospital complex in the city of Taiz, was established in 1997 and is run by the Ministry of Public Health & Population. It is the only centre providing physical rehabilitation services for the population of Taiz, Ibb, Hodeida and the Aden region.

Due to the low quantitative and qualitative standard of the services provided at the centre because of the lack of resources and trained staff, the ICRC began to assist the centre through its physical rehabilitation programme by supplying imported components and materials and temporarily assigning a number of its physical rehabilitation specialists in 2010. The team is providing on-the-job training to the staff, and working towards capacity building of the whole centre.

In 2011, the centre’s capacities were severely strained by the revolution in Yemen, which prompted the ICRC to assign its delegates specialised in physical rehabilitation on a full-time basis. On average, 200 persons benefit from the centre’s services every month.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.