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Doctors Say Malala Yousafza, Pakistani Girl Activist Shot by Taliban, Doing Well After Surgery

Update Date: Feb 04, 2013 12:09 PM EST

Teenage Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafza, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, said she was getting better in her first public statement released Monday.

"Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and I am getting better day by day," the 15-year-old activist said in a video interview recorded before undergoing surgery on her skull on Saturday.

"It's just because of the prayers of people. Because all people -- men, women, children -- all of them have prayed for me," Yousafza said.

"And because of all these prayers God has given me this new life -- a second life. And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund," she added.

Yousafza was shot at point-blank range on a school bus in October 9 in northwestern Pakistan by the Taliban after campaigning for women's rights in her homeland. The Taliban had said that it targeted Yousafza because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking", according to the Associated press. The attack had sparked outrage in Pakistan and in many countries around the world.

Pakistani surgeons managed to save the teenage girl's life with an initial surgical operation to remove the bullet from her head to relieve the pressure on her brain. She was then flown to the UK to be treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. Doctors said that the bullet had grazed Yousafza's brain and went through her head and neck before it lodged in her left shoulder.

In the operation performed this weekend, she had a titanium plate fitted to replace part of her missing skull. Yousafza was also fitted with a cochlear implant to help restore her hearing in her left ear.

The Malala Fund was set up in late 2012 by international organization Vital Voices to promote education for girls.

"We established the Malala Fund on behalf of Malala and her family, working together with supporters of the cause, including the United Nations Foundation and Girl Up, and within a community of supportive organizations and individuals, to realize Malala's vision of education for all girls," the organization said on its website.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital's medical director Dr. Dave Rosser said in a press conference on Monday that Yousafza's Saturday operation had gone "very well" and that she was continuing to improve, according to the BBC.

"She went back to the intensive care unit that evening, primarily as a precautionary measure rather than because of any major concerns and she's now back on one of the wards in the hospital and doing very well," Rosser said.

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