Israeli team reports on return from 10-day Haiti mission

4,000 earthquake victims need artificial limbs, doctors say.

February 26, 2010 03:13
1 minute read.
Sheba Medical Center's chief of prthopedic rehabil

haitiu doctor 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Sheba Medical Center)

An Israeli team sent to Haiti to assess the rehabilitation needs of the population as result of the January earthquake has returned with an estimate of over 4,000 new amputees who need artificial limbs. Haiti, they said upon their return from the 10-day mission, has no training centers for physiotherapists, occupational therapists and prosthetic/ orthotic technicians, and no functioning medical rehabilitation facility.

The delegation proposed the establishment of a joint Haitian-Israeli Rehabilitation Center in Port au Prince based on rotating Israeli medical teams that will both treat patients and train local personnel – at an annual cost of approximately $1.5 million.

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The team went on the mission at the request of President Shimon Peres, who has already discussed the report with former US president Bill Clinton (tasked with leading global rehabilitation efforts for Haiti). The delegation suggested that the center be located on the grounds of the Hospital Universite d’Etat d’Haiti (HUEH), which had a planned rehabilitation center with designated space and personnel prior to the earthquake. Unfortunately, the person who was to head that center died in the earthquake. The team said the site was suitable and could open in a few weeks at a cost of less than $100,000.

Leading the delegation was Dr. Tsahi (Itzhak) Siev-Ner, chief of orthopedic rehabilitation and chief orthopedic rehabilitation surgeon at Sheba Medical Center. Others were David Abadi of Magen David Adom, Sheba chief physical therapy supervisor Anat Kristal, Dr. Elhanan Bar-On, an orthopedic surgeon and a specialist in pediatric orthopedics from the Schneider Medical Center and Yehuda Pilosof, a prosthetic and orthotic technician and director of the Gapaim (limbs) rehabilitation institute. The JDC also supported the mission, with assistance from the Foreign Ministry.

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