Australian NGO, Project Rozana has launched a pilot project in the West Bank to provide health services to more than 145,000 women who currently have limited or no access to primary health care.
“A significant proportion of the women have diabetes and other health conditions that, left untreated, are life threatening,” said Project Rozana chair Ron Finkel.
Project Rozana’s Women4Women initiative has partnered with Sheba Medical Centre, the largest hospital in Israel which is ranked as one of the 10 best hospitals in the world. Sheba Medical Centre will train local Palestinian health workers and provide ongoing diagnostic and service support.
“Project Rozana negotiated an agreement which will enable the Sheba platform and related technologies being used for the collection of critical patient data in the remote communities [to be] passed back securely and reliably for analysis in real time,” Finkel told The AJN.
The program launch coincides with President Joe Biden’s visit to the region and his announcement of $US100 million in aid to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem.
“President Biden’s support for Palestinian healthcare endorses our belief in the power of health as a pathway to peace building,” Finkel said.
“Investing in Palestinian civil society and infrastructure helps to build capacity and resilience. In particular, this program will assist Palestinians to provide healthcare in remote communities that are currently vastly under-serviced.”
The project will operate in Area C, which constitutes over 60 per cent of the West Bank and is home to 3.3 million Palestinians.
Telehealth services will help to bridge political and cultural gaps, and female health workers will help to mitigate cultural concerns about male doctors treating women.
A holistic team including nurses, a midwife, physiotherapist, psychologist, nutritionist, paediatrician and dentist will provide services to address women’s physical, mental and social wellbeing. Virtual clinics will provide services to women in the target communities of Khursa, Um Al-Kheir and Deir al-Asal al-Fuqua, screening for health issues and referring for medical treatment if necessary.
Finkel said that Project Rozana’s Women4Women initiative aims “to provide Palestinian women with the medical care they need, wherever they are located and to bridge geographic, political and cultural gaps in a shared vision of optimal health outcomes”.