Doctors volunteer free care for Darfuri refugees

In general, the refugees are said not to be suffering from nutritional deficiencies.

darfur child 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
darfur child 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Several physicians from Wolfson Medical Center in Holon volunteered this week to treat the Darfuri refugees from Sudan who are crossing the Egypt-Israel border in growing numbers. Dr. Arye Levin, the head of the pediatric gastroenterology unit, made contact with Physicians for Human Rights and offered to provide the Darfuris with medical examinations and treatment. In addition to Wolfson doctors, a gynecologist from Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and medical students from Ben-Gurion University have joined the volunteer work. The doctors drove down to Beersheba, where most of the refugees are staying, and began conducting medical examinations. Many of the children were suffering from conventional infections in their ears, on their skin and hepatitis A, plus asthma, serious anemia, diabetes and heart disease. Many also have wounds from being beaten by Egyptian soldiers, the doctors said. Levin said all should remember that the refugees are human beings who have been through hell and suffer from emotional, social, economic and medical problems. He received free medications from pharmaceutical companies to treat the refugees and has received many offers of help from physicians. Wolfson director-general Dr. Yitzhak Berlovich said he was proud of the doctors' volunteer spirit and humanity shown in helping the refugees. Meanwhile, the Terem urgent medical care center at Jerusalem's Magen David Adom station reported Monday that it was receiving a growing number of African refugee patients and treating them for free. Among them was a three-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy suffering from upper respiratory infections. During the past two days, Terem has also examined a six-month-old baby with dermatitis (a skin condition) and a 37-year-old man with the same problem. Doctors who treated them said that in general, the Darfur/Sudan refugees seemed not to be suffering from nutritional deficiencies, but the stream of people seeking medical aid was growing, and the medical conditions were similar, which hinted at infections among them. A solution must be found quickly, they said, to prevent diseases from spreading among them and then to the Israeli population. Charmaine Heddick of the International Christian Embassy, who is working as a volunteer helping the refugees, said that more than anything, they need employment to support themselves and so as not to become depressed and become a burden on the authorities.