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Doctor in mercy mission to Libya; Paediatrician offers help to his homeland.

Byline: Helen Rae

ANORTH East consultant paediatrician is heading to the emergency department of a hospital in war-torn Libya to help treat the injured.

Dr Abdubaker Akak, who works at the children's ward in North Tyneside General Hospital, will be helping medical colleagues at The Brothers hospital in Tripoli. The 57-year-old was born in Tripoli and trained to be a doctor there. His mother, brothers and other members of his family are still living in the area.

Dr Akak, who today embarks on his trip, said he was sad to leave his wife and five children behind but felt compelled to help those suffering in Libya.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has helped Dr Akak by shipping out vital medical equipment to help treat those injured by the fighting, including surgical apparatus.

Dr Akak, of Gosforth, Newcastle, said: "As I am from the area and still have close relatives living in Tripoli I feel compelled to go there and offer my help and support. The last time I was there was seven months ago and it was just weeks before the war started. The eyes of the world are on Libya at the moment where my people are suffering and I am so grateful to my colleagues who have shipped out vital medical equipment to help the injured."

Volunteers from wards and departments at North Tyneside General Hospital yesterday helped Dr Akak pack the equipment, which was loaded on to a van and taken to a central point in Manchester where it will be shipped to Tripoli and should arrive there next week.

Jim Mackey, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has thrown his full support behind the doctor's trip.

He said: "This is a difficult time for everyone in Libya and the equipment we are sending was coming to the end of its life for Northumbria.

"We are pleased that this will benefit patients who have been affected by the war in Libya."

People who live in Libya's capital are trying to return to normal life free from the reign of Col Muammar Gaddafi.

More than a week after rebels took control of the city, Tripoli is still without water. Living conditions are difficult because of water and fuel shortages. Reports say people have been waiting in long lines, and scuffles have broken out.

NATO PLEDGES TO CONTINUE ITS SUPPORT DAVID Cameron last night warned the "struggle was not yet over" as he confirmed the Nato operation in Libya would continue for "as long as we are needed to protect civilian life".

Speaking at the "Friends of Libya" summit in Paris, attended by 63 international delegations, the Prime Minister insisted it was the "Libyan people who had liberated Libya" but he was proud of the role British forces had played in events over the past five months.

Mr Cameron said the conference had agreed to continue with Nato operations, to bring those guilty of war crimes to justice and to support the National Transitional Council to achieve political transition. The leaders spoke after Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi issued a defiant warning to rebels that they faced a "long battle".

In a broadcast on Syrian TV, the deposed despot apparently vowed his forces would fight "in every street, every village and every city".

Mr Cameron, who chaired the summit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said: "Some people warned, as Gaddafi himself did, that the Libyan people could not be trusted with freedom, that without Gaddafi there would be chaos.

"Some people thought that chaos would start the moment the regime fell, so what we are seeing emerging now in Libya, despite the years of repression and the trauma of recent days and months, is immensely impressive.

"Enormous difficulties lie ahead, of course, but the Libyans are showing the world their courage, their spirit and their resilience."

International leaders at the conference, held in the Elysee Palace, unanimously agreed the need to hand over frozen Libyan assets to the NTC.

The first batch of almost pounds 1bn of Libyan dinar banknotes, which were seized after being printed in the UK, have already been sent to Libya after the UN sanctions committee agreed to a request from the British Government.

But the UK still hold billions more in Libyan assets, as does Canada, France, Germany and Italy.

President Sarkozy said unfreezing assets would "return to the people of Libya the monies of yesterday for the building of the Libya of tomorrow".

Among representatives who attended was US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.


EMERGENCY CALL Consultant paediatrician Dr Abdubaker Akak, who is with returning to his native Libya, with vital equipment for the strife-torn which has been donated by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:6LIBY
Date:Sep 2, 2011
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