Groups outline ways to reduce health gaps in Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Five civil society organizations in Israel have created a position paper outlining a social policy to reduce gaps in health status and health services.

In the paper released Monday, the organizations —  the Adva Center; Physicians for Human Rights-Israel; the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; the Galilee Society-Arab National Society for Health Research and Services; and Tene-Briut for the Promotion of the Health of Ethiopian Israelis — called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to initiate a multi-dimensional national program to reduce health gaps.

According to the paper, significant health disparities have been found between Jews and Arabs, between longtime residents of Israel and newcomers from Ethiopia and, within each of these groups, between those receiving income support payments and others. Gaps have been found also between the center and periphery of the country, and between the population groups residing in these areas. The disparities have been increasing rather than decreasing, the paper asserts.

The paper calls for an annual Health Gaps Report to be presented to the Knesset, including an update on health disparities, a delineation of the official goals for the reduction of the disparities, and the progress that has been made by the various ministries. 

The report looks at the health disparities in various populations for four common illnesses: diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and depression/anxiety.

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