KHF Outreach
NHF's Institute for Family Health Working to Become Regional Training Center for Rehabilitation Centers Dealing with Victims of Torture
8th December 2011

Training certificates awarded at NHF's Institute for Family Health and Denmark's Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims' first regional training workshop in Jordan for rehabilitation centers in the Middle East and North Africa

Dr. Nagib Nagm Eldin stepped to the front of the conference room to receive his official training certificate from Dr. Manal Tahtamouni, Director of the Institute for Family Health (IFH) and Lianne Engelkes, from Denmark's Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims (RCT) at the conclusion of an intense three day training workshop.

Eldin, who participated in the 15 hour training course at the IFH entitled, "The Role of Rehabilitation Centers for Torture Victims, Rehabilitation Versus Advocacy" runs the Amel Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture in Khartoum.  He says the need for trauma services in his homeland of Sudan is great.

"Sudan is full of problems," remarked Eldin during an interview at the close of the workshop, "we have war, we have political conflicts, so we have a big number of victims in our country."

He says he was impressed with the "system of the organization" he observed during his visit to the IFH, and he plans to take what he learned in Jordan back to his country.

Eldin's colleague Dr. Abdel Basit Merghani, who runs the Al Fanar Rehabilitation Center in Khartoum, which works collectively with the Amel Center, says the regional workshop provided participants with a valuable lesson:

"I think this workshop is an eye opener for how to develop ourselves in the future."

And that's exactly what conference organizer and host, the IFH's Director Dr. Manal Tahtamouni had in mind when planning the first regional workshop in Jordan for rehabilitation centers in the Middle East and North Africa that work with victims of torture.

"Most of the centers are working in 'hot' areas like in the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, Kurdistan, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon," noted Tahtamouni, "all of the centers except Jordan [which] may be the only center located in a safe area… Jordan can play a major role in providing the training and the capacity building, and the technical assistance to all of these centers."

The IFH officially launched the second phase of a project with RCT funding entitled, "Providing Specialized Trauma Treatment Services to Iraqi Victims of Torture and Organized Violence in Jordan" in October of 2009, handling 175 torture victim cases to date free of charge.

IFH staff member and attorney Madelaine Muaddi said the goal of this week's regional workshop was to get to "know the others, how they [are] dealing with the torture problems, how to solve the torture problems within their circumstances."

While it's the youngest rehabilitation center in the region, the IFH's goal is to become a regional training hub.  On December 15th, 2011 the trauma center will launch the distribution of an official training manual in Arabic to trauma care providers, donors, universities, and all interested stakeholders on how to deal with victims of torture.

A timely effort, according to Merghani, who noted that the Arab world needs to prepare itself to meet the prevailing, changing atmosphere ushered in by the so-called 'Arab Spring'.

"I think it's a good opportunity for us to think about what is going on and how we develop," noted Merghani, "and how we can help people during their movement, and later on after this movement."

Participants in the regional work shop at the IFH this week included social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, and lawyers from Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq, Gaza and Ramallah.

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