In September 2005, we collected enough money to operate on the first Palestinian children suffering from congenital heart disease.
However, we had to find a quick way of solving three major problems:
1- Transferring medical knowledge to Palestinian doctors
2- Screen sick children where they live
3- Spread Information in order to avoid congenital heart malformations, which are often the result of intermarriage.
53 sick children were operated on.
The organization decided to fund for one year the training of Palestinian doctors, in the Hadassah Hospital, in state-of-the-art techniques: ultrasound cardiography and catheterization.
The first trained Palestinian doctor settled in Jenin in the Northern part of the West Bank.
The doctors in-training went to Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem for two days a week to carry out systematic scans. “A Heart for Peace” provided a portable ultrasound cardiography machine to this effect.
It thus became possible to make a very early diagnosis of heart abnormalities in even more sick children.
Therefore, Professor REIN and his team operated on more and more children in the Hadassah Hospital.
Post-operation follow-up care was carried out wherever the children, who had been operated on, happened to live.
At the end of 2007, 102 Palestinian children had been operated on.
Since prevention is better than cure, “A Heart for Peace” set up a counseling service in genetics. We financed a young Palestinian woman, specialized in genetics, who informed the families directly about the potential genetic risks related to intermarriage and who explained to the mothers the origins of the ailment from which their child was suffering. This helped remove their feelings of guilt and allowed the families themselves to be better equipped to deal with these pathologies.
At the end of 2008, 139 children had been operated on. The events in Gaza had slowed down the rhythm of transporting the children.
284 children were operated on.
However, our work was far from finished… A Heart for Peace organized dialogue groups between Israeli and Palestinian mothers in order to give continuity to a relationship initiated in the Hadassah Hospital.
A night watch system was set up so that children suffering from heart disease could be hospitalized at night in the Hadassah Hospital.
An example of the successful transfer of knowledge: one of the doctors, trained within the programme, opened a state-of-the-art cardiology centre in Ramallah, where children, from part of the West Bank, suffering from congenital heart malformations will be cared for. A Heart for Peace provided portable echocardiography equipment and will partially fund the centre for 3 years. At the end of this period, the centre will be financially autonomous. In exchange for this support, A Heart for Peace has requested that the centre charge very little, thus making it possible for all patients to have access to care.
Also in 2012, 156 Palestinian general practitioners were made aware of congenital heart pathologies and of the need for early diagnosis by one of the Palestinian doctors trained by A Heart for Peace.
72 children underwent heart surgery and we continue to train general practitioners. There are now 196 of them.
Doctor Ibrahim Abu Zahira, a neonatologist who has worked at the Necker Hospital in Paris, began his training in pediatric ultrasound cardiography and catheterization.
Woel, a technician in ultrasound cardiography, is now working at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, while also working one day a week at Hadassah Hospital. This amounts to in-service training.
• Increase the number of Palestinian children operated on (on the basis of epidemiological data, it is estimated that 300 children per year need an operation).
• Continue to screen in the West Bank.
• Expand the night watch system.
• Improve and increase antenatal screenings of congenital heart disease.
• Continue the dialogue groups between Israeli and Palestinian mothers
• Intensify the training of the Palestinian medical team (doctors and technicians)
• Continue to make the Palestinian general practitioners aware of the need for detecting malformations.
• Open a second state-of-the-art cardiology centre.
|Between 2005 and 2013, 546 children have been operated on.|
Every week, A Heart for Peace allows a Palestinian child suffering from severe congenital cardiopathy to undergo surgery free of charge at Hadassah Israeli hospital.