Surgical days on the West Bank
Restricted freedom of movement of the Palestinian inhabitants on the West-Bank influences not only the movement of patients, ambulances and medical personnel all over the West-Bank, but also hinders their access to Eastern Jerusalem and foreign countries. Bureaucratic difficulties are heaped upon patients who are seeking medical treatment that is not available within the Health Services of the Palestinian Authority, but also upon medical practitioners who wish to attend medical conferences and advanced training, that are essential for further learning and enriching experience from the world of medicine. These limitations prevent the Palestine Health Services to widen the choice of tests, scope of diagnoses, development of treatments and operations.
The lack of qualified specialized surgeons, and especially plastic surgeons, gave rise to a new project for the Mobile Clinic of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I); in this framework volunteer surgeons will perform operations in hospitals on the West-Bank.
During the year 2010 concentrated surgical days were started
in the Center 'Friends of the Patient' in the city of Tulkarem in the West-Bank, where in cooperation and alongside the local surgical team, operations were performed
. Since the Medical Center in Tulkarem offers day care only, for the time being no complicated operations that require longer admissions can be done.
PHR-I aims to widen these medical activities into further areas, and thereby consolidate the solidarity with the Palestinian Health Services. We plan to perform more advanced and more complicated operations in areas of endoscopic surgery, ophthalmologic surgery, orthopedic surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, surgery of the vertebral column, oncologic surgery, invasive cardiology and heart surgery.
The aim of this kind of medical work, beyond solving the individual patient's problem, is teaching and training of the local team, through full cooperation. PHR-I intends to form in the near future a team of experienced volunteer surgeons in all these specialties, and even more areas, according to the needs of the Palestinian Health Services.
If you wish to join this effort or to contribute to this unique project, please contact
According to a UN report “the adverse impact of closure and prolonged curfew on Palestinian villages and towns has severely restricted the access of civilians, especially women, to life saving services such as emergency obstetric care.” Anemia, an increase in stillbirths and low birth weight rate are among the ramifications. Our experience shows that not enough emphasis is given to women’s health issues that are not connected to reproductive health. Our seminars and trainings and our joint women’s mobile clinic, held once a month by women-only for women-only, are planned to put emphasis on these matters as well as to empower women – via our Palestinian partners - to demand their health rights.
PHR-Israel plans seminars and training within our joint women’s mobile clinic, held once a month by women-only for women-only. These clinics are planned to put emphasis on women’s health rights as well as to empower women – via our Palestinian partners - to demand their health rights.
In addition to general medical services, the Mobile Clinic project provides specialist clinics – whereby Israeli specialist physicians participate in clinics held in larger Palestinian towns, in conjunction with Palestinian specialist physicians. At the same time, hands-on professional training is conducted on a doctor-to-doctor basis, enabling routine day-to-day consultation between the Israeli and Palestinian medical communities. Specialist clinics are held in Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology, Gynecology, Orthopedics and Diabetes.
Referrals to Israeli Medical Centers
In many cases, during mobile clinics, doctors discover that additional follow- up is needed. A referrals coordinator at PHR-Israel’s office follows up on these cases and, through an agreement with Israeli hospitals, refers patients to specialist consultations free of charge, in Israel. When external donors wish to aid specific patients, PHR-Israel acts as a channel to transfer donations to the assistance of the patients.
PHR-Israel schedules appointments and facilitates access to Israeli medical centers for approximately 60 patients from the West Bank per year.
Trainings and Seminars
In addition to the one-on-one training held in the course of the specialist clinics, PHR-Israel continues to conduct seminars and workshops for Palestinian physicians and other medical personnel, and brings together members of the Israeli and Palestinian medical communities to meet and learn from each other about the various challenges they face in their field. These are rare opportunities for Israeli and Palestinian health professionals to share difficulties of conducting proper medical services in times of conflict and of the ethical questions that they face. PHR-Israel's volunteers will participate in and lead these workshops. Topics of workshops, seminars and training sessions that have been covered so far include Oncology, Breast Cancer Screening, Orthopedics, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, HIV/AIDS and Mental Health.
Medical Delegation Trips to Gaza
PHR-Israel resumed its medical assistance to residents of the Gaza Strip in January 2008. These 2-3 day delegation visits are coordinated by PHR-Israel’s Fieldwork Coordinator and staffed by a volunteer medical delegation of Palestinian-Israeli doctors- including leading orthopedists, oncologists, surgeons, and psychologists. Physicians carry out medical procedures, diagnose patients and conduct professional trainings. Additional meetings are conducted with hospital directors, rehabilitation and mental health centers in order to provide a professional needs assessment and to draw up programs for subsequent visits by PHR-Israel delegations. Often these delegations bring with them donations by the local and international community including transplant equipment, medications, and other supplies.
Activities along Route 443
At the beginning of 2009 we completed a year of activity of the mobile clinic and women's clinic in villages located south west of Ramallah along the separation road also known as Route 443. As is well known, since 2002, this road is blocked (in the part that is in the West Bank) to Palestinian traffic or pedestrians, even in cases of medical emergencies. The prohibition on the use of this road to Palestinians poses direct harm to the freedom of movement and the ability of Palestinian residents to fulfill their right to proper medical care. For this reason, the mobile clinic visited these four villages: Harbata, Beit Ur al-Tahta, Beit Sira and Ni’ilin. Each of the villages was visited three times. These villages were selected for being small, isolated, lacking medical services and surrounded by checkpoints. The visits of the mobile clinic to these villages necessitated overcoming various barriers and the medical crew sometimes had to carry the equipment, by foot, around these barriers.