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Notes Sharp Drop in Preventive and Curative Health Work in Europe As Need Rises

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A sharp curtailment in the preventive and curative work of the organizations conducting health work among the Jewish population of Eastern and Central Europe coupled with an increased necessity for free medical treatment, is reported by Dr. Jacob J. Golub, executive director of the Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York City, who recently returned from a two months’ trip through Austria, Germany and Poland where he conferred with officials of these bodies. The hospitals and clinics, especially, have had to restrict their activities as the result of drastic decreases in their income and the educational health propaganda credited with having taught thousands to avoid unsanitary and unhealthy conditions, has had to be almost completely discontinued as a result of economic conditions, Dr. Golub said.

While thus far there have been no epidemics with which to contend, he pointed out, the closing down of several X-Ray stations where new and recurrent cases of favus (a contagious scalp disease) have been treated, has been followed by an increase in the number of cases. Tuberculosis clinics also report an increase in the number of patients, he said.

Dr. Golub, who from 1920 to 1924 directed the medical activities conducted in Eastern Europe by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, international relief agency, spoke highly of the work being done by the “TOZ”, Polish Jewish health society, and the “OZE”, Jewish health organization in the surrounding countries, which carried on the Joint Distribution Committee’s medical and sanitary work and continued it with the aid of subsidies from the Committee.

“The work of these organizations and their institutions is of a very high grade,” Dr. Golub declared, “and conforms to the highest medical standards.”

The chief impression the visitor to Eastern and Central Europe receives, is of a spirit of hopelessness and discouragement, he asserted. “The difference between the depression in this country and over there,” he pointed out, “is that here, it seems to lift after every hope, every sign of improvement. Over there, nothing indicates improvement and the spirit prevailing is one of hopelessness and discouragement. The people are at the end of their resources and do not know where to turn to help themselves. Compared to conditions there, we here in this country do not know what ‘depression’ is.”

As a consequence of these conditions, the health societies, which receive little governmental subsidies, are finding that thousands of Jews who formerly paid for their medical services and contributed to the support of the hospitals, clinics and other establishments, now are numbered among the free patients. In order to keep within the drastically revised budgets this has necessitated, Dr. Golub said, these institutions have had to retrench and many of them are using only half their facilities and operating only part time.

“When local conditions improve, there will be an increase in their budgets, but meanwhile, there is a greater dependence on outside aid such as has been furnished by the Joint Distribution Committee. Such aid will be needed more than ever this coming winter.”

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