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The current study aimed to explore Palestinian university students’ perceptions and concerns about COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy. Our sample comprised 50 university students selected using snowball sampling techniques from Palestinian universities in the West Bank, Palestine. Thematic content analysis was conducted to identify the main themes of semi-structured interviews with students. The results of the thematic content analysis yielded four main themes: Students’ perceptions and concerns on COVID-19 vaccinations, perceived risks of vaccination, experiences related to vaccination, and causes of vaccination hesitancy. Participants expressed concerns and doubts about the vaccine’s safety, showing high hesitancy and scepticism; they also reported different causes for COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in the Palestinian context, such as the lack of confidence in vaccines, false beliefs about vaccines, and peculiar political instability and conflict of the Palestinian territories enduring a military occupation undermining the health system’s capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak appropriately. Health authorities and policymakers are urgently called to invest in and potentiate awareness campaigns to change the diffuse people’s stereotypes related to the COVID-19 vaccine in the Palestinian territories.
The current study was designed to test the correlation between quality of life, depressive symptoms, and hopelessness, and whether sense of belonging and resilience mediating the correlation between quality of life, depressive symptoms, and hopelessness in a society characterized by high level of political violence and prolonged trauma.
Structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed to test the conceptual model, where quality of life was identified as a predictor variable, sense of belonging and resilience as mediating variables, and depressive symptoms and hopelessness as outcome variables. The participants of the study were 437 Palestinian adults: 190 males and 247 females, they were recruited using online methods; emails, Facebook, and Twitter.
Results indicated that quality of life negatively correlated with depressive symptoms (r = −0.603; p < 0.01), and hopelessness (r = −0.453; p < 0.01), and positively correlated with resilience (r = 0.534; p < 0.05), and sense of belonging (r = 0.428; p < 0.01). Results of SEM indicated the correlation between quality of life, depressive symptoms, and hopelessness was fully mediated by the sense of belonging and resilience.
Our study sheds light on resilience and sense of belonging as protective factors against ongoing traumatic experiences among Palestinians. Future research should be addressed to understand better the features of resilience and sense of belonging that can help maintain psychological functioning in conditions of chronic and ongoing violence, the personal and historical antecedents of such protective factors, and the factors that can directly or indirectly undermine them.
Moving from an approach oriented to adaptation and functioning, the current paper explored the network of cumulative associations between the effects of the siege and resilience on mental health.
We sought to explore the impact of the siege on psychological distress (anxiety, depression, and stress) and the moderating effect of resilience and hopelessness in a sample of 550 Palestinian university students. We hypothesized that the siege effect would impact psychological distress so that the more people were affected by the siege, the more mental symptoms of common mental disorders they would report. We also expected that the siege would negatively impact both resilience and participants' hopelessness.
Findings showed that higher scores on the scale measuring effect of the siege were associated with hopelessness. Furthermore, living under siege compromised participants’ resilience. The more the siege affected individuals, the lower resilience were protecting participants mental health and the more hopelessness was exposing them to anxiety, stress, and depression.
Our findings draw attention to how the ongoing violation of human rights influences people's mental health in Gaza. Implications for clinicians and policymakers are discussed.
Bystanders can improve the outcome in emergencies by activating the “chain of survival.” Gaza’s (Palestine) population has little, if any, access to training in Basic Life Support (BLS) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The goal was to recruit local medical students to be life-saving first aid instructors, and have them train 3,000 laypeople in BLS and CPR.
One hundred and seventeen medical students from Al Azhar University-Gaza (Gaza City, Palestine) were trained as BLS and CPR instructors. Twelve training hours were delivered in practical BLS and CPR skills, plus four in communication and didactical skills, to enable training of laypeople. Students answered a questionnaire exploring demographics, prior training experience, expectations, and motivation to join the training. Teaching material were developed after the European Resuscitation Council (ERC; Niel, Belgium) guidelines and similar training at The Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø, Norway).
A total of 117 medical students (52.1% female; 47.9% male), from third through sixth year, completed training, and all were in their early twenties. Ninety-five (81.2%) agreed to answer the questionnaire. Of those, five students lost family members during Israeli military operations. Eighty-two (70.1%) never had hands-on first aid training. Seventy-six (80.0%) hoped the training would improve their community’s response to emergencies. With 58 training sessions completed, 1,312 laypeople (596 males; 716 females) were trained: 5.52 lay trainees per student instructor. The majority (n = 1,012; 77.1%) were school students aged 13–20 years.
It is feasible to recruit local medical students for practical BLS and CPR trainings targeting laypeople in communities under stress. The training impact on local resilience and patients’ outcomes need further studies.
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