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Pain-Free Needle Pricks

In a world of major advances in medicine and medical technology, some basic barriers remain for most doctors around the world: the patients fear of needles, surgeries, insertions, and other skin-breaking procedures. The perennial image of crying children, anxious parents and restless medical staff come to mind when parents think about preparing their children for a vaccination or medication shot. Those anxieties are no longer the norm at the clinic that Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD) runs in Sabra refugee camp, thanks to the introduction of EMLA cream, a welcome donation from AmeriCares. EMLA cream is a local anesthetic used to numb skin to pain from injections, drawing blood, intravenous insertions, micro-surgeries of the skin and other medical procedures. On a recent morning, Bayan, a 25-year-old mother, was waiting with her 11-month-old daughter, Nour, for their turn to see the pediatrician. Nour usually feared the clinic but this day she sat quietly on her mothers lap smiling at people and making faces at other children in the waiting area. Like many other residents of Sabra refugee camp, Bayan and her family routinely visit PARDs clinic for their primary healthcare needs. Bayan says she feels a genuine sense of care and friendliness there. But Bayans visit this time was not routine. Nour is suffering from a serious ear infection, the mother explains. She has been receiving daily antibiotic shots for the past three days. Despite her very young age, Nour had already experienced the pain of injectable vaccines many times. The shots dont only hurt the children but also add to the suffering of their caring parents. Bayan admits feeling awful when she hears her daughter scream as the nurse swiftly inserts a needle in her daughters arm. I sometimes cry with her, she declares. That is why the recent delivery of EMLA cream, a skin anesthetic, gave Nour and many other children the chance to experience pain-free injections.

EMLA cream is one of many medical in-kind donations generously provided by AmeriCares, in partnership with ANERA, to hundreds of health facilities serving underserved communities in Lebanon. Dr. Ghassan Al-Kantar, a dermatologist at PARD, is happy to see fewer looks of terror in patients eyes. He says his patients find the use of EMLA Cream easy and convenient. They apply it to the affected area before visiting him for any procedure. These days, the same patients who might have been terrified of needles smile and joke as I vaccinate them or perform any other skin-penetrating procedure says Dr. Al Kantar. At this point, I guess they understand that theres truly nothing to be afraid of! Thanks to donors like AmeriCares, ANERA was able to provide over $13 million of donated medicine in 2011 to impoverished and marginalized communities in Lebanon.

About ANERA For more than 40 years, ANERA has been a leading provider of development, health, education and employment programs to Palestinian communities and impoverished families throughout the Middle East. In FY 2010, the relief and development agency delivered more than $50 million of programs to the people of the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan. Follow ANERA news on Facebook, Twitter,,