In March 2020, a fire broke out in a bakery near a market in Gaza where 34-year-old Ahmed Al-Natour was working as a shoemaker. 25 people died and Al-Natour suffered severe burns to his face and other parts of the body. When he returned home, the Palestinian was wearing a therapeutic mask that soothes and protects the scarred skin. “I feel good when I use it, it relaxes my face. It’s easy to use and I go shopping while using it,” Natour told Reuters.
The French organization Doctors Without Borders uses a 3D scanner in the clinic and a 3D printer from a Gaza company and provides compression masks for victims of facial burns to heal wounds and eventually prepare them for reconstructive surgery. The masks are transparent, made of plastics imported from France, and help soften skin tissues and prevent complications such as scars.
In the past, burn victims traveled to Jordan for reconstructive surgery and only then had access to these masks. Due to the travel restrictions put in place during the pandemic, MSF began providing local care. And according to Abed El-Hamid Qaradaya, who is in charge of the organization’s physiotherapy service in Gaza, they make a huge difference to many people. “Since mid-2020, we’ve made face masks for 23 patients who have helped change their lives.”
Text edited by Amanda Ribeiro