MSF Reinforces its Presence in the Palestinian Territories
October 16, 2000
In response to requests from health authorities in the Palestinian territories who are working to meet medical needs amid the current violence, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has bolstered its medical teams and has sent a charter of medical supplies to the region. Last week, the MSF team already present in the region provided support to medical centers in Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron, and Ramallah.
Medical supplies, primarily surgical, are en route to Nablus and Hebron. An anesthesiologist began work yesterday in Al Makasset Hospital in East Jerusalem together with Palestinian staff. An MSF doctor and logistician are visiting hospitals in and organizing the distribution of medical material and drugs as needed in the Palestinian territories.
MSF operates several ongoing projects that serve people in the conflict-affected areas. Note that the Hebron projects are temporarily suspended.
Mental Health: Since 1996, MSF has been providing psychological care to mothers with children who are suffering from malnutrition. Malnutrition among Palestinian children is often linked—not to a lack of food—but to a weakened emotional link between mothers and their children, one result of the difficulty and stress in the mothers’ daily lives. MSF psychologists have also been training local health professionals to care for mothers and their children and plans to transfer the project to this local group by the end of 2000.
Rehabilitation for Palestinian Ex-Detainees: In March 1997, MSF began providing psychological care to Palestinian ex-detainees suffering from their incarceration and ill-treatment while detained in Israeli prisons. MSF plans to transfer the project to local health professionals by the end of 2000.
Rehabilitation of Clinics: In February 1998, MSF began a project in Hebron health district to rehabilitate clinics, improve the health information system, and train community health workers. In response to a measles outbreak in May 1999, the organization offered logistical and technical support to the Hebron and Ramallah health authorities.
Mental Health: Since August 1998, MSF has been helping to improve access to mental health care for people affected by post-traumatic stress disorders in the conflict-affected areas of Jezzine enclave and Nabatiye district. MSF has developed educational programs related to psychological problems, and provided individual counseling and consultations with psychiatrists and psychologists as referred by Lebanese professionals. Since fall 2000, MSF has extended the program into the former Israel-occupied zone. The organization plans to hand the project over to the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs and other local counterparts in March 2001.
Medical Emergency Capacity: MSF is currently completing an extensive training program throughout southern Lebanon, including the former Israel-occupied zone, for Lebanese Red Cross sections and medical emergency facilities to improve emergency first-aid skills, including the use of first-aid equipment provided by MSF and the ICRC.
Occupied Palestinian Territory