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Israeli hospital trains Palestinian health workers in remote care for pregnant women

An Israeli hospital has launched a program to train Palestinian medical professionals to provide remote care to pregnant women in the Hebron region of the West Bank.

As part of Sheba Medical Center’s OB-GYN Beyond initiative, announced on Tuesday, Palestinian healthcare workers have been trained in the use of telehealth technologies that will allow them to remotely monitor the health of mothers and their babies. fetus.

Gynecologists, midwives, nurses, a pediatrician, nutritionist, physiotherapist and psychologist have all received training under the program and will receive ongoing clinical support every two months from Sheba, the medical center said in a statement.

A video released by the hospital showed that at least some of the training was in English.

The program is run in conjunction with the Rozana Project, which brings Palestinian patients from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Israeli hospitals, and also provides training for Palestinian medical staff.

The organization said the initiative will mean that women who might otherwise struggle to access antenatal healthcare will be able to get the care they need.

“Enabling Palestinians to provide health care in their remote communities lays the foundation for a self-reliant people,” said Ronit Zimmer, executive director of Project Rozana. “Training in Sheba will enable local health workers to operate virtual clinics in remote areas, eliminating many logistical, bureaucratic and security barriers for rural residents seeking quality health care.”

In a statement, the director of the OB-GYN Beyond program said he hopes the initiative will improve health outcomes for pregnant Palestinian women.

“Our goal at OB-GYN Beyond is to provide women with the medical care they need, wherever they are,” said Dr. Avi Tsur, director of the Women’s Health Innovation Center at Sheba Medical Center. “Telemedicine allows us to bridge geographic, political and cultural gaps in the shared vision of optimal health outcomes. We are excited to work with Project Rozana to achieve this goal.

Most international aid organizations do not separate their statistics for the West Bank and Gaza Strip for maternal and child health studies, despite the fact that the two areas fall under completely separate systems.

Illustrative photo of an ultrasound performed on a pregnant woman in Israel. (Chen Leopold/Flash90)

However, based on data from 2014, the most recent year published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), while the death rate for pregnant women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has fallen, women are still at high risk of complications due to overweight health structures, poverty and lack of access to nutritious food, as well as the impact of the ongoing conflict.

The data of the world Bank shows that the vast majority of Palestinian women in the West Bank and Gaza – 99% – receive at least some form of prenatal care.

Sheba Medical Center announced the initiative to establish the remote obstetrics-gynecology unit ahead of US President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel and the West Bank.

Biden is expected to announce increased funding for Palestinian health programs during a Friday visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem.

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