Australian surgeon Munjed Al Muderis is returning to Iraq with a team of surgeons to resume a long-standing humanitarian project that was stalled by the Covid pandemic travel ban.
Professor Al Muderis was forced to flee Iraq in 1999 when working as a junior surgeon at Saddam Hussein Medical Centre in Baghdad. He made his home in Australia and continued his career – In 2020 he was awarded NSW Australian of the Year for humanitarian work and contribution to medicine.
Announcing details of the current mission he highlighted five key areas:
- To visit previous patients, ensuring their well-being and addressing any issues they may be facing, including instances of harassment.
- Treatment of complex limb deformities and rare orthopaedic conditions. The team will focus on providing specialised treatment to address these issues, aiming to enhance patients’ quality of life.
- Local Skills Training: The mission will continue its efforts to train local individuals in the field of prosthetics, fostering the growth of expertise within Iraq. This includes training specialists to meet the unique needs of the amputee community.
- Establishment of Local Support Structures: The team recognises the importance of ongoing monitoring and consultation for patients. To ensure their continuous care, they will establish local support structures, enabling patients to receive guidance and support from staff in Australia.
- Regular Shuttle Visits: The team, along with Professor Al Muderis, will make frequent shuttle visits to Iraq every few months. This will allow them to maintain close connections with the amputee victims, providing continuous assistance and support as needed.
In a message to Iraqi amputees Professor Al Muderis said: “We are immensely grateful for your resilience and patience during these challenging times. Our team is eagerly looking forward to working with you once again, as we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of the amputee community in Iraq.”