Political figures and medical administrators urged the government to give
generous financial assistance to the Hadassah Medical Organization, whose two
university hospitals in Jerusalem provide tertiary health care to 60 percent of
Jerusalem-area residents and many beyond.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on
Tuesday told an audience of mostly 1,300 laymen at the Seventh Israel Medical
Conference organized by HMO at the Jerusalem International Convention Center
that “Hadassah is one of the country’s top national assets, and nearly everyone
in Jerusalem owes their own lives, quality of life and the births of their
children to HMO and to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.”
“I believe [the
state] must give Hadassah help for it to survive this crisis. Much of our
infrastructure in Jerusalem is based on it. It must be helped to stand up on its
own feet again and even to expand its services and employees so it can meet its
potential,” said the mayor.
HMO director-general Avigdor Kaplan said last
week that it suffers from a running deficit of NIS 300 million and a longterm
debt (including employees’ pension commitments) of NIS 1.3 billion.
the owner of voluntary hospitals not owned by the Health Ministry or by a health
fund, HMO has many expenses for which it is not reimbursed.
grants of its owner, the Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America –
which recently opened an advanced $360 million new hospitalization tower – has
dropped by half in the last year or two.
Barkat said the government
understands the great potential of biotech and medical care as a way of
marketing its know-how to Eastern and Western Europe and North America, and that
HMO is a major player in providing this know-how. Thus, it must help the
organization get over its current financial problems, he
Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman added:
“We are worried that Hadassah might be dragged down and become a center of
moderate or even lower quality because of its financial problems.
has been Hadassah for 100 years, and it raised many generations of doctors,
department chairmen and unit heads around the country. The future of Hadassah
very much worries me. We need a strong HMO, and everyone must do everything he
can to prevent the collapse of this place.”
Clalit Health Services
director- general Eli Defes said: “It would be terrible for Jerusalem and
Jerusalemites if something prevents HMO from functioning
Meanwhile, Health Minister Yael German – referring to her
ministry’s new month-long campaign to give oral polio vaccine (OPV) to 150,000
southern- district children up to the age of nine-and-a-half years – said that
children who have already received injectable vaccine (IPV) were already
But parents were asked to bring in children for two drops of
oral vaccine to protect indirectly infants and children who were not vaccinated,
as well as older people with weak immune systems, who could contract the
Just as the national health insurance system was
motivated by the desire for equity for all, those asked to get OPV were also
providing mutual protection for those who need it, she added.
that anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 children are healthy carriers of the virus,
according to tests of sewage samples. By Tuesday, some 8,000 of the 150,000
children had been brought in for vaccination – a significantly lower pace that
needed to give the two drops of vaccine to all 150,000 within a month. Soon the
ministry will determine whether the spread of the wild virus requires wider
vaccination or whether children only in the South are enough, she
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International
Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said that his organization will spend a total
of NIS 100 million a year for a decade on assisting lowincome elderly people who
live at home, especially those who live alone.
His director-general, Zion
Gabai, said that of the 800,000 elderly Israelis, 380,000 are over 75, and a
large share are lowincome and lonely.
The voluntary organization, which
raises money abroad – mostly from non-Jews – will help the worst off to buy
food, provide them with delivered groceries and daily hot meals, help them cover
payments for prescription medications and send volunteers to keep them
“We want to help hundreds of thousands, especially Holocaust
survivors, to live out their lives in dignity,” Gabai said, adding that the
project will begin in Jerusalem and the South.