A report published by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) shows a 10 percent increase in the number of Palestinian Authority Arabs who received treatment in Israeli hospitals in 2012.
The total number of 219,464 patients, 21,270 of them children, includes the companions accompanying the patients in Israel.
The numbers represent a dramatic increase in the number of PA Arabs who receive treatment by Israelis medical professionals, compared with 197,713 patients in Israeli hospitals in 2011 and only 144,838 in 2008.
COGAT, a military unit which is responsible for implementing the Israeli Government’s policy in Judea and Samaria, stated, “The Civil Administration, through its health department (HDCA), works closely with the Palestinian Ministry of Health to support the medical needs of the Palestinian population throughout Judea and Samaria.” The HDCA manages all issues relating to Israeli-Palestinian healthcare coordination, primarily the transfer of Palestinian patients to hospitals in Israel.
The HDCA further works to enable professional medical training for Palestinian Authority Arabs by Israel through the encouragement of medical conferences and the training of Palestinian medical staff in Israeli hospitals. Training sessions take place several times a year, initiated by both the HDCA and the Palestinian Authority.
In 2012, the Civil Administration paid $560,000 to send PA Arab doctors, nurses, and paramedics for training in Israel. The Civil Administration has also set aside a budget to finance critical medical procedures for patients who are not covered by Palestinian or UNRWA health insurance and are not able to pay privately.
Tazpit’s Anav Silverman reported last year that Suhila Abd el-Salam, the sister of Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, accompanied her husband for treatment in Israel. Her husband was admitted to Bellinson Hospital, in Petach Tikvah, for immediate medical treatment following a serious heart condition.
Haniyeh’s sister and her husband requested permission to travel to Israel to receive the necessary medical treatment because Gaza hospitals could not properly treat the condition.
This was not the only time that a Gaza resident was treated in Israel. This past March, a 15-year-old boy in Gaza was transported to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot after suffering from severe burns and shrapnel injuries from an alleged rocket launching pad that was set up in Jabalya, a neighborhood in northern Gaza.
The Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. Hanni Abadin, paid an unprecedented visit to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem at the beginning of this past May.
Dr. Yuval Weiss, director of the hospital, reported that at any given moment there are some 60 Palestinian Authority medical personnel in training at the hospital. Dr. Abadin thanked Hadassah for the opportunity to visit and for its services, visited Arab children hospitalized at Hadassah and gave them gifts.
The Civil Administration Health Department declared that it will continue in 2013 to cooperate closely with their PA counterparts and international organizations in Judea and Samaria to advance healthcare for the benefit of all residents in the region.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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