15-year-old schoolgirl shot by Taliban released from Birmingham hospital
The 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban was released yesterday from the Birmingham hospital where she was being treated.
Schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in October following the gun attack on a bus journey back from school in the North-Western Swat district of Pakistan.
Malala underwent a life-saving operation in Pakistan immediately following the attack, and was airlifted to the UK to be treated by specialist neurosurgeons.
The hospital have said that Malala has now made an excellent recovery despite the bullet actually entering her skull and grazing her brain, so she can now be treated as an outpatient while recuperating at her family’s new home in the West Midlands.
She will be re-admitted later in January or early February when she will undergo cranial reconstructive surgery as part of her long-term recovery, paid for by the Pakistani government.
The hospital’s medical director, Dr Dave Rosser, said: “Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery.”
The teenager was targeted by the Taliban for her women’s rights and educational activism in her country, which the Taliban view as promoting secularism and Western thinking.
When the Taliban ruled areas of the Swat Valley, they closed girls’ schools which has had a massive impact upon female literacy. In some areas of Pakistan only one in every five pupils is a girl.
The high-profile shooting of Malala has led to protests in Pakistan, world-wide condemnation and the personal intervention and backing of Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, who described her as a “remarkable girl and a credit to Pakistan”.
In the wake of the shooting, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, began a UN petition demanding that by 2015 all children world-wide would receive a school education.
It is thought that Malala will remain in Britain for the foreseeable future. Her father has been appointed education attaché at the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham – a role which should last for three years.
Praise and support for Malala’s courage and strength have come from across the globe since the attack and there have been calls for her to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lucy Cait Jordan