Ramallah, 27 May 2009
Hebron's district is the largest, most populated and poorest district of the West Bank. Only 38 clinics are operational and able to provide primary healthcare services to its population, currently reaching 560,000 inhabitants in 157 villages. For instance, Yatta village in the southern part of the district counts 48,672 inhabitants , for whom only one clinic and one hospital with 20 beds are functional. The main healthcare provider being the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health (MoH), other work health organizations such as the Red Crescent and PMRS are continuously attempting to bridge the widening gap in the availability of healthcare services.
The Palestinian Medical Relief Society is running 4 clinics dispatched throughout the Hebron district, providing general and specialized services such as: primary healthcare, women's health, child's health, dermatology, nutrition, dental health, chronic disease, laboratory programs, pharmacy as well as an ophthalmology program together with Saint John's Hospital. Additionally, PMRS' headquarter in Hebron is home to a Loan Centre that provides assistive devices to disabled people, thus tremendously changing the life of those who are not able to afford such equipments. In turn, PMRS' Youth Centre is running many activities such as: English, French and Hebrew language classes, IT, gender and communication trainings, olive picking, non-violent protests and demonstrations as well as tours in Palestine.
In order to address movement restrictions resulting from the Israeli occupation, PMRS is managing a Mobile Clinic Program that sends doctors and health workers to the most remote and isolated areas of the Hebron district. Every day, two mobile clinics travel to various parts of the district to provide health services to populations affected by checkpoints, the Separation Wall, and settlements. In order to timely assess such needs, so-called 'coalitions' have been formed in 25 communities, with the task of identifying medical needs and coordinating with PMRS on a monthly basis. Members of such coalitions also receive trainings in gender issues, IT and communication.
Although PMRS health services are expanding and becoming more diverse, PMRS will continue to try and reach a broader part of society, specifically addressing the needs of vulnerable people.