MARCH 2022 NEWSLETTER
Welcome, and what an exciting year we have planned for Project Rozana!
We are pleased to share our latest news, achievements and views with you.
Ron Finkel AM, Chair, Project Rozana International
As I write this editorial Eastern Europe has been plunged into war with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is the first invasion of one European country by another since Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and triggered WWII. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people in their hour of great need and our hope is that pathways to resolution will be speedily found.
As appalled as we are by Russia’s unconscionable actions against innocent Ukrainians, we can reflect on the pointlessness of war and the importance of finding common goals and shared ideals as the pathway to peace and a better future between people.
In our own very small way, Project Rozana is looking to develop pathways to peace in the Middle East, a region that has seen far too much conflict in the past eight decades since 1945.
I sense a discernible wind of change in the air.
In 2020, two significant milestones were achieved on the path to peace in the region. The Abraham Accords were first signed in September of that year between the UAE and Israel, which created the opportunity for later agreements with Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. In December, the $250,000,000 Nita Lowey Middle East Partnerships for Peace Act (MEPPA) was signed into law by the US Congress. Both events are impacting positively on relations between Israel and her regional neighbours.
The MEPPA is full of potential for activity directly relevant to Project Rozana. The bulk of the funds to be deployed by the program over the next five years will be directed to people-to-people initiatives. This will help build bridges to better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians, which is a core ambition of Project Rozana.
This is Project Rozana’s space.
Our organization was launched in the belief that health was a significant space in which Israelis and Palestinians could get to know the ’other’. Indeed, it is a space where every minute of every day, Israelis and Palestinians interact in a respectful and mutually-beneficial way.
Over the nine years since we launched, our reach and impact have grown significantly. Our programs are increasingly focused on Palestinian health capacity-building. Not only are we addressing identified priority gaps in the Palestinian health system, we are training Palestinian health professionals in Israeli hospitals so they can better serve the broader treatment needs of their patients. That training will ultimately reduce the dependence of those patients on the Israeli health system.
Whilst the COVID pandemic placed unimaginable pressures on the health networks of both communities, critical training continued through virtual learning. Project Rozana was ‘front and centre’ in facilitating many of these programs and initiatives.
In this edition, we are pleased to explore some of our latest initiatives including the nursing training program being undertaken between two major hospitals in Jerusalem – the Augusta Victoria Hospital (the ’go-to’ Palestinian hospital for oncology and nephrology) and the world-renowned Hadassah Medical Center.
As Dr Amal Abu Awad, the Chief Nursing Officer at AVH, told us,
“Few AVH nurses have full speciality of at least one-year preparation. Partnering with Hadassah provides great opportunity for the nurses to achieve this goal. From all of the 170 nurses, only 18 have full speciality in oncology nursing. Furthermore, none of the nurses is specialized in geriatrics, nephrology or critical care nursing”.
You will also read about the successful pilot of the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) accreditation course for Israeli and Palestinian trauma physicians. The pilot will be followed in 2022 by a further five courses funded by the Rotary International Foundation, the first of what we are hoping will be initiatives between Project Rozana and Rotary International; a partnership that reflects our joint commitment to peace-building initiatives.
Ron Finkel AM
In these dark and challenging hours for world peace, I believe we can see in Project Rozana’s work in Israel and Palestine, a pathway for hope for dealing with an otherwise intractable conflict.
PEACE-BUILDING THROUGH ATLS TRAINING
PEACE-BUILDING THROUGH ATLS TRAINING
Project Rozana’s Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Training pilot program held in mid-December 2021 successfully brought 20 Palestinian and Israeli young physicians (shown below) together for intensive training and social events.
The course cultivated a joint community of trauma practitioners with professional, personal, and collective relationships and shared experiences. The participants have a common passion to improve the region’s trauma care.
Chair of Project Rozana International, Ron Finkel AM, declared the pilot a “great success”. He said the ATLS Training Program addressed key gaps in the Palestinian health sector. And it funded pathways for Palestinian medicos to enhance their skills for the benefit of their people, by training with Israeli colleagues.
“Our ATLS course is contributing a meaningful thread to the fabric of relationships that are helping to build better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. Establishing respectful relationships of trust at the people-to-people level is the fundamental foundation in the building of sustainable peace.
The ATLS program has previously been available in Israel but not in Palestine. Now, for the first time, through Project Rozana and with Rotary International’s support, it can be offered by an Israeli hospital being fully accessible to Palestinian physicians.
The success of the pilot gives us great confidence for the success of the series of courses that will follow this year. In 2022, in partnership with Rotary International, we will deliver five internationally-accredited certification courses for 100 Palestinian and Israeli trauma physicians.”
Dr Adam Goldstein, Head of Trauma Surgery at Wolfson Hospital, and member of Project Rozana Israel, is the ATLS Course Initiator and Convenor. Adam (shown centre here, with participants) was thrilled with the results of the pilot program.
“This is something that I’ve been dreaming of, for at least three or four years. The project I see is a building block and a step to really move forward and to do beautiful things. I really hope this is the beginning of something strong, resilient and practical that helps as many people as we can.”
The 10 Palestinian and 10 Israeli participants had the same excellent pass rate as other ATLS courses worldwide, and post-course survey feedback was extremely positive.
Yasmin from Gaza City, resident in General Surgery in Wolfson Hospital, shared,
“I have enjoyed being in this course very much as the training was really useful. It will be very useful in my future practice and everyday practice.”
Tamer from Bethlehem, anaesthiologist at Hadassah Ein Kerem explained,
“Palestinian doctors with Israeli doctors. It’s an amazing course. We learnt a lot and hopefully we will continue to do more efforts to teach more residents on both sides.”
The ATLS Training Program supports Project Rozana’s mission of building bridges to better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health.
AN EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE PALESTINIAN HEALTH SYSTEM
AN EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTION TO THE PALESTINIAN HEALTH SYSTEM
Danny Kahn, Chair of NATAN advised,
The medical lab and pharmacy are built for chemotherapy preparations, but can be used for all pharmaceutical work. The large container includes a negative pressure lab equipped with a mixing hood, which is air-conditioned.
NATAN specifically sought an Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) non-profit member, dedicated to medical help. And they knew of Project Rozana’s work in building excellent cross-border relationships with the major Palestinian health networks.
John Lyndon, ALLMEP Executive Director, congratulated both organisations,
A huge thank you to all at NATAN and Project Rozana for this amazing example of organisational cooperation, partnership and problem solving/opportunity availing!
We look forward to seeing the impact of the new medical laboratory on the work at AVH.
NEW YEAR, NEW LIFE-SAVING PROJECTS
NEW YEAR, NEW LIFE-SAVING PROJECTS
Project Rozana is launching three exciting new projects…
- West Bank Women’s Health program
- Teleclinic at Assuta Ashdod
- Nurses Training through ‘Nurses in the Middle East’
West Bank Women’s Health program
The pioneering West Bank Women’s Health program will create a cross-border health ecosystem that uses innovative technologies to address healthcare gaps for women and children in remote communities. Project Rozana believes that improved gender-equitable healthcare leads to improved social cohesion, higher quality of life, and better possibilities for regional peace.
The first training session will be held at Sheba Medical Center in March, sharing their expertise in remote care and cross border initiatives.
Ronit Zimmer, Executive Director, Project Rozana Israel, shares,
“This project will serve its beneficiaries and empower the poorest and most vulnerable by directly removing financial, geographical, cultural, and political barriers to timely healthcare. Community Health Worker teams will be led by trusted brokers in the community and connected to expert clinical advice in both the Palestinian and Israeli healthcare systems.
Addressing women’s healthcare needs and encouraging gender equitable and human rights equitable access to training and mentorship, has been shown to improve overall quality of life indicators and reduce preventable deaths.”
Together with Green Land Society for Health Development, Project Rozana has recently launched the women’s health initiative. Green Land is currently recruiting eight Community Health Workers – a team comprising a trusted community member, nurse, physiotherapist, and social worker. These diverse skill sets will address women’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing through virtual clinics in the three communities (a Bedouin community, a refugee camp, and a remote village cluster, whose women and children will receive health services).
Project Rozana TeleClinic at Assuta Ashdod
Project Rozana is poised to launch a Teleclinic at Assuta Ashdod Hospital in Southern Israel to provide online consultations to Palestinians in the oncology, cardiology, and nephrology fields. Digital health technologies give successful symptom assessment, timely care-seeking, follow-up and referral, treatment adherence, and improved quality of living for patients.
The project will have a dedicated Palestinian physician to coordinate the consultations.
Non-communicable diseases are the main cause of death and disability in Palestine, with cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes being most prevalent. A lack of diagnostic and therapeutic medical supplies and referral restrictions have fundamentally interrupted the treatment of chronic diseases. There is also a dearth of qualified medical professionals in specialist fields.
Ronit Zimmer is pleased to provide the current project status,
“We have finalized and executed the agreement with Assuta Ashdod. They are currently undertaking simulations to ensure their technology and model (including team and facilities) is operating as required.
Later this year, the second stage of the project will have the telehealth platform giving specialist training to local health workers. They will be from Al Ahli Hospital (Hebron), Augusta Victoria Hospital and Al Makkased Hospital (both in East Jerusalem). This will strengthen the Palestinian health system.”
Training via Nurses in the Middle East
Nurses in the Middle East (NME) are a community of caring nurses centred in West and East Jerusalem, standing together to advocate for tolerance and healthier communities. Project Rozana worked together with NME to create this professional development program that will bring together nurses from both sides of Jerusalem.
Through the program, 60 nurses from Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem will undertake specialised training delivered by nurses from Hadassah Medical Center in West Jerusalem. Through the training, we aim to provide the Palestinian people with the highest standards of diagnostic, clinical and community health services.
Project Rozana Chair, Ron Finkel AM, explains,
“The initiative serves to implement Project Rozana’s mission of contributing to a resilient and independent Palestinian health system by bringing Israelis and Palestinians together through healthcare. It creates networks of Palestinian and Israeli nursing specialists in long-term professional relationships, and a commitment to future development in the targeted specialties.
Launching in 2022, Project Rozana has signed an agreement with Augusta Victoria Hospital, based on an 18-month specialist nursing training curriculum. Delivered by Hadassah Medical Center, the fields covered will be advanced oncology, nephrology, geriatrics and intensive care.”
TRANSPORTING PATIENTS WITH LOVE AND HOPE
TRANSPORTING PATIENTS WITH LOVE AND HOPE
Despite the pandemic, the dedicated Wheels of Hope providers have continued and expanded their life-saving transportation activities.
Without this free service, many Palestinian families would be unable to access critically needed medical services in Israeli hospitals, nor engage in the peace-building opportunity to meet the Israeli drivers.
Wheels of Hope drivers learned to live with COVID-19 by having windows open no matter what the weather, full masking, vaccination and social distancing.
The three wonderful organisations supported by Project Rozana are…
- Road to Recovery.
- Humans without Borders (HWB).
- Green Land Society for Health Development.
They reported that nearly 60% of the patients they drived required treatment for cancer, while others needed bone marrow transplants, kidney dialysis, open heart surgery or orthopaedic issues.
Wheels of Hope teams recognize that Palestinian patients seeking treatment in Israeli hospitals face additional barriers such as language, Israeli security restrictions, border crossing and the high cost of transportation. For many patients, whose treatments require multiple trips to hospital every week, the economic and emotional burden on the family is insurmountable.
Currently, a series of training sessions are taking place to ensure that WOH Organisations are aligned with Australian compliance requirements. These include child safety, assisting people with disabilities and onboarding of volunteers.
Na’ama Goraly, CEO of Road to Recovery, explains,
“Co-ordination of the thousands of transportation requests and trips presents a major logistical task. At the beginning of 2021, we moved from individual ‘area coordinators’ working around the clock, to a central, web-based Co-ordination Center, operated by a team of volunteers, working in shifts.”
Larry Lester, Co-Chair of Humans Without Borders, shares,
“During 2021, we managed trips involving about 110 children, some five times a week, some once every few months. Several people who had temporarily ceased volunteering, returned to activities. They worried about the well-being of the children more than other factors. They are wonderful souls.”
HWB has expanded its activities to include the purchase of medicines and medical equipment, and paying directly to hospitals for life-saving medical procedures if necessary.
Below left is a Humans Without Borders driver with her charges. Below right, a mother and baby in a Road to Recovery car. And lower left, a patient is helped by a driver from Green Land Society for Health Development.
The Green Land Society for Health Development drivers transferred Palestinian patients, aged from 9 months to 60 years old, and their companions, to and from West Bank checkpoints.
Despite facing the challenges of increasing fuel prices, Covid restrictions and exchange rates, the volunteer drivers were happy to improve the lives and health outcomes for the hundreds of patients they served.
Project Rozana’s ‘Wheels of Hope’ program provides seamless transportation for critically ill Palestinian patients (mostly children), for treatment in Israeli hospitals.
Project Rozana Australia welcomes a new board member, Michael Gale.
Project Rozana UK has a newly appointed Chair, Dr Saif Azzawi, and board member Dame Anne Marie Rafferty.
Project Rozana Australia has new members of the Board Observership Program, Christine Loulier-Griffin and Hugo Bieber. And there’s new Database and Administration Coordinator, Shani Burnie.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Project Rozana Australia is pleased to welcome Michael Gale as our newest board member.
Michael brings a unique background and amazing skillset as a technology entrepreneur, journalist, venture investor turned investor banker. Current clients range from Australia to the Emirates. He is a frequent conference speaker and panellist and has been listed as a notable entrepreneur by Marquis Who’s Who.
Michael is chair of the Development Committee.
DR SAIF AZZAWI
Project Rozana UK welcomes new Chair of the UK Project Rozana board, Dr Saif Azzawi.
Saif is a British Iraqi doctor born to a medical family. He is an award-winning consultant plastic reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon. His main interests are microsurgery, trauma reconstruction, skin oncology and aesthetic surgery.
Saif undertook his specialist training in London and in Australia and is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He is a fluent Arabic linguist and a defence cultural advisor on the Middle East, involved in healthcare engagement and capacity building projects.
Great to have you on the Project Rozana UK Board!
DAME ANNE MARIE RAFFERTY
We are delighted to welcome highly respected academic Dame Anne Marie Rafferty CBE, to the Project Rozana UK Board.
Anne Marie is an academic specialising in health services and policy research, specifically the healthcare workforce and nursing. She is currently Professor of Nursing Policy at King’s College London, the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care.
A warm welcome to the UK Board!
PROJECT ROZANA AUSTRALIA BOARD OBSERVERSHIP PROGRAM
The Observership Program involves young, talented and energetic individuals in a structured experience on non-profit Boards.
We are thrilled that Christine Loulier-Griffin will bring her fantastic knowledge of fundraising, innovation and business improvement to the Project Rozana team through the Board Observership Program.
Through the Board Observership Program, we know that Hugo will be an asset to Project Rozana. He specializes in creating new relationships connecting people, businesses and investors across Israel, the UK and Australia.
NEW STAFF FOR PROJECT ROZANA AUSTRALIA
Database and Administration Coordinator
With a strong background in corporate and not-for-profit organisations, we welcome Shani. Her enthusiasm, skills and experience are certain to provide the team with the administrative and development support required for success.