Multiple Sclerosis in Palestine

This photo essay was submitted by Rajiv Kapoor.
Profiles of Safyya, Tariq and Shadi courtesy of MSPF.

Health care in Palestine does not meet the needs of its population. In addition to receiving sometimes inadequate health care, multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are often isolated. Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Friends is an organization that supports MS patients in Palestine. It holds community events where people with MS can find current information, mutual support and advocate for themselves and their families and friends. It is also raising money to buy wheelchairs for patients who cannot afford them and holds other events such as yoga classes. These photos show Safyya, Tareq and Shadi, who have been diagnosed with secondary-progressive MS, and who are involved with Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Friends.

Safyya Barakat Salem Ahmad

Safyya is a single 31-year-old who lives with her family of six in Al-Sawya. Her health has deteriorated since she became affected by MS ten years ago. Safyya’s legs are paralyzed and she has difficulty moving her hands, as a result of which she cannot eat alone or carry heavy things. She stopped taking medication for MS because of its complications and side effects which affected her kidney function and her speech. An ambitious woman, Safyya strongly hopes to recover and work in business administration.

Tareq Samarah

Tareq resides in Beit Mreen. Aged 34, he is married and has two kids. Hand and leg tremors make it hard for Tareq to control his body movement. He had to quit his job ten years ago when he started experiencing MS symptoms. He is not on medication because he cannot afford it.

Shadi Sami Yousef Abu-Ayyash

Shadi is married and lives with his own family in addition to his father and brothers. He quit his job three years ago at when he discovered that he had MS. Paralysis of the leg and loss of balance limit Shadi’s mobility. He uses a wheelchair with the help of family members. He is 32 years old and resides in Balata Camp.

Rajiv Kapoor
Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Friends (MSPF)

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