Ramallah: For the past two years, a guilt-ridden Ebtisam Hussain Al Shafei has rarely slept. She has devoted herself to looking after her five-year-old daughter Kifayah, who has 80 per cent burns on her body.
Kifayah was three years old when a container of boiling milk her mother was heating on the stove fell on her, causing her serious burns. Her head was one of the few parts of her body left uninjured.
Since this painful incident, Ebtisam has dedicated herself to her daughter to the detriment of her other nine children. She has roamed the West Bank to ask public departments and other international organisations for help in treating Kifayah.
Sponsored by an international organisation, Kifayah was initially treated in a US medical centre. But her condition has deteriorated as her body is developing new layers of skin that is thicker, sensitive and delicate. Her skin cannot withstand any kind of pressure.
Medical reports state that the thick skin is the result of the hot milk (full of fat) that fell on the girl.
In an interview with Gulf News, Ebtisam says: “The thick skin has covered Kifayah’s entire body. The West Bank hospitals are unable to treat this condition.” Ebtisam, who is from the Tulkarem Refugee Camp, claims that the hospitals have already told Kifayah’s family that they cannot do anything for the girl.
A visiting German medical team has recommended that the girl be sent abroad for treatment. The medical team reported that the girl has an 80 per cent level of disability.
“It is her destiny, but yet this is my fault and I need to see the body of my daughter healed,” says Ebtisam, who is ready to sacrifice anything in order to treat her daughter. “I am dedicating my entire life to get her treated,” she says. “I am ready to give her parts of my own skin should it be needed for Kifayah to heal up,” she said.
Ebtisam has had difficulty getting Kifayah registered with a kindergarten or a school, as the girl needs special care which Palestinian educational institutions do not offer. “Kifayah suffers frequent itching episodes and needs special attention,” said the mother. “Kifayah’s elder sister has just graduated from the university and she will accompany Kifayah daily to the kindergarten to look after her.”
Ebtisam is appealing to the international community and burns specialists all over the world to give her a helping hand in treating her little daughter to help save her life and future. “Kifayah’s father, who works as an assistant butcher and supports a family of 12 members, can not afford the girl’s treatment and we are in need of help,” said the mother.