Developing Nations Hail Hadassah’s Medical Work at 10th Anniversary Fete

Diplomatic representatives from eight African and Asian nations will join international health officials and other guests at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel tomorrow night at a dinner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Karem in Jerusalem. Since its inception, the Center has provided an extensive program of medical services and training to developing countries in addition to serving some 500,000 Israelis and residents of the occupied Arab territories each year. The scope of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s services was described by its director-general, Prof. Kalman J. Mann, in remarks prepared for delivery at tomorrow’s dinner. Another speaker will be Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem. Hadassah is supported by 320,000 American women volunteers who run a broad network of health, educational and rehabilitation programs in Israel and varied volunteer programs in the U.S. Prof. Mann describes the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center as the largest of its kind in the Middle East, ranking among the six greatest medical complexes in the world. “It is in a unique position to provide medical aid to developing countries because of its proximity to Afro-Asian countries; because as a developing country itself, Israel understands the priorities and limitations in settling up medical services; and because Israel’s own population is composed of people from 80 different countries, cultures and various ethnic backgrounds, its doctors are familiar with a wide variety of diseases and the factors in life styles which contribute to medical ills.”

Dr. Mann reports that in this decade “Hadassah’s ophthalmic surgeons in the African continent have treated a million patients and performed 20,000 major eye operations, and that Hadassah has graduated 66 doctors, 15 nurses, 27 specialists in the field of medicine and 33 nurses from Africa.” “Some of these figures seem to be small,” Dr. Mann says, “yet when one considers the measure of our resources, the enormous effort needed to train people in these complex professions, and the nearly complete absence of these professions in the African continent, we will appreciate how vital and significant our contribution is.” According to Dr. Mann the work of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem “touches the lives of 300,000 people and embraces preventive, diagnostic, curative and rehabilitative services.” The Medical Center serves predominantly Arab East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, the West Bank, Gaza and some patients are Arabs who come from Amman. Besides contributions through the Medical School, Hadassah, in partnership with the Hebrew University in the Schools of Dentistry and Public Health; with government, Malben and Kupat Holim in the School of Occupational Therapy, and alone in the School of Nursing, has added precious personnel to Israel’s pool of skilled manpower, Dr. Mann notes.

“Thus, Hadassah has so far provided 1218 doctors; 150 specialists, 201 dentists; 152 public health experts; 285 occupational therapists and 1223 nurses. Indeed, Hadassah’s involvement in the field of teaching and training the medical and para-medical professions has made it a major force in providing Israel’s independence in the field of health,” Dr. Mann states. Mayor Kollek observes in his prepared remarks that Jerusalem is fortunate to have the Hadassah Medical Center within its bounds. “Despite all its beauty, Jerusalem is a city full of problems,” the Mayor says. “It is the largest immigrant city in this country, with the most varied population, double the birth rate of Tel Aviv, and it has the greatest number of children. Because all the elderly have prayed all their lives to come to Jerusalem, this Holy City also has the greatest percentage of elderly; the highest percentage of academically trained; yet, the highest percentage amongst the big cities of illiterates. A city of contrasts and great problems, in many of which Hadassah has carried a heavier burden and taken a greater share than any other volunteer organization in existence.” Kollek further observes that the “trust and dependence on Hadassah is so accepted by all of our residents that in the first days after the Six-Day War the greater number of Arabs who came to Hadassah shows that the name was not forgotten even beyond a hostile frontier, and if there is a great tribute to Hadassah, perhaps this is one of the greatest.”

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