All community clinics of the four public health funds must accept and treat all residents within a 40 km. radius of the Gaza Strip who come for help, the Supreme Emergency Hospitalization Authority, headed by Health Ministry director- general Prof. Arnon Afek, decided on Sunday.

As some community clinics in the area have closed due to an inadequate number of staffers and for other reasons, it was decided that residents can go to the clinic near to their home, even if it does not belong to their personal health fund. They can also get medications from the pharmacy nearest to their home.

The ministry’s Kol Briut number, *5400, will answer queries round the clock. The health funds’ information centers – *2700 for Clalit Health Services; *3555 for Maccabi Health Services; *3833 for Meuhedet Health Services; and *507 or 1-700-507-507 for Leumit Health Services – will also provide information.

Meanwhile, a piece of shrapnel that hit the eye of Shlomo Kom, who was wounded when it hit his home in Ashdod last week, was removed Friday at Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center. Kom, who as a soldier in the First Lebanon War also suffered a shrapnel wound and is now 78 years old, married, with five children and six grandchildren, was operated on. His left eye was saved, the hospital said.

Kol was buying petrol for his car when the missile from Gaza landed. He tried to enter a protected area, but it was packed with people, so he stood close to an exterior wall.

But the piece of shrapnel nevertheless entered his eye, and he also suffered from noise in his ears.

The Kaplan doctors managed to remove the whole piece of shrapnel, which had entered through his cheek and was stuck in the eyeball.

A new application to help the deaf and hearing disabled has been made available during the current crisis. It shows people who can hear how to communicate in sign language to inform them about emergencies, including warning sirens or if there is a suspicious object nearby. It shows relevant sentences in Hebrew, Arabic, English and sign language.

The app was developed by the Institute for the Advancement of the Deaf, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Mashavim Kiyat Shmona organization and is available for downloading onto iPhone and Android smartphones.

Medical students at BGU in Beersheba are, meanwhile, helping out staffers at nearby Soroka University Medical Center during the crisis by performing nonmedical tasks and organizing activities for their children who have no kindergarten or summer camp. More than 200 children of hospital staffers have enjoyed their involvement so far.

The medical school said the project will continue until the crisis ends.

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