Ziv Medical Center launches US charity to step up care for needy communities

Professor Salman Zarka wants to expand and upgrade care in the north of the country.

 Prof. Salman Zarka. (photo credit: ZIV MEDICAL CENTER)
Prof. Salman Zarka.
(photo credit: ZIV MEDICAL CENTER)

For the 300,000 Israelis living in the Golan, Upper Galilee and Safed - a diverse population of Jews, Arabs, Christians and Druze - the services offered by the Ziv Medical Center in Safed make the difference between life and death, or between the ability of receiving appropriate care for a chronic disease or not.

With its 370 beds, Ziv’s vision is to deliver its community the most excellent and comprehensive medical care so that they can find a solution to every medical problem close to home.

In order to fulfill this vision, the hospital’s Director General Prof. Salman Zarka announced that he would be launching the “Partners of Ziv” charity at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference which will take place in New York on Monday.

“I am an Israeli Druze,” he said. “I served in the Israeli Defense Forces for more than 25 years. After I retired, I knew I had to help upgrading our standards of healthcare, for the population in the North of Israel.”

“In our region, we saw a disparity of access to care that is alarming,” Zarka, who also served as Israel’s Coronavirus Commissioner, added. “Our people in the North, Sarah and Moshe, Said and Jamila deserve the same standard of care of those in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.”

Dr. Salman Zarka (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Dr. Salman Zarka (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Many of the residents of the area that Ziv serves come from low socio-economic background, which translates into several health issues. For example, cases of diabetes are common and when diabetes is not properly treated, patients risk loosing a limb, with a terrible impact for their quality of life.

“Right now, we have a stretch goal of opening, by the end of this year, our first hyperbaric medicine department to help diabetes, long Covid and stroke patients,” Zarka pointed out. Ziv already offers one of the most advanced cancer treatment centers not only in Israel but in the world. In addition, the hospital features a department for mental health that is considered among the best in the country.

Offer the same level of care across the whole country

The goal is to expand their services to offer the same level of care in all fields.

“We addressed inequality and lack of well trained professionals, by adding new medical services to our portfolio, as well as a new medical research partnership, in cooperation with the medical faculty of Bar Ilan university,” Zarka said.

Because of its location, Ziv is also on the frontline of the security threats that Israel faces from its northern borders. For example, there is a need for more comprehensive protection for operating rooms, maternity wards and delivery rooms.

“We remember the second Lebanon war, in 2006, when a missile hit our hospital and our staff continued operating under fire,” Zarka said. “We pray that we we won’t have another war.”

As a hospital in the periphery, Ziv faces also many obstacles when it comes to funding. There are less donors and therefore also less public funds - which often are designed to match donations from philanthropists.

Zarka will take the opportunity offered by the Post Conference to present the hospital’s crucial work to the North American and international public, explaining how supporting Ziv’s mission means supporting the whole Israel.

“On behalf of an incredibly talented, multiethnic and inclusive team at Ziv, I invite you to invest in us as, become partners in the next 75 years of a strong and future-focused Israel, that realizes the dream of comprehensive and excellent medical services for every Israeli across the North,” he said.

Prof. Salman Zarka will take part in the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on June 5. For more information - www.jpost.com/AC23