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Operation Hospitals of Hope: Israel’s Contribution to the Fight against Ebola

eboOn Tuesday, 18 Marcheshvan, Operation “Hospitals of Hope” was launched. Gil Haskel, Head of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation – spoke at the event, which took place in Ashdod. Other speakers included Mr. Avi Buskila, President and CEO of the medical supply company Sarel, and Shlomi Levy, manager of Globus shipping company.

The operation, which cost 1.2 million shekels, is a project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is Israel’s contribution to the global fight against the Ebola virus.

Hospitals of Hope follows other operations in which Israel has sent aid to disaster-struck regions. In the present case, as in the past, Israel is calling upon its vast experience in the area of field medicine to aid another country in need.

Israel will send two containers of medical equipment to each of three countries hard-hit by the virus – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The equipment includes mobile clinics with a capacity of 20 beds each, protective equipment, a treatment cart and everything needed to set up the clinics quickly and start treating patients immediately.

The containers are slated to leave Ashdod port on 14 November and should reach their destinations within 30 to 40 days. Marine shipping was chosen as the most cost-effective way to transport the equipment.

After the containers arrive at their destinations, teams will be sent to instruct local residents in setting up the clinics, after which the locals will assume responsibility for running the facilities. In addition, various NGOs will recruit Israeli doctors to assist the local operators of the clinics.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also sending medical teams to Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire to advise the local residents in dealing with emergency situations and preventing epidemic outbreaks. This is in addition to large donations of equipment and medications to Sierra Leone, protective kits to the African Union, and other activities.

Gil Haskel: “As Head of MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, I am proud to stand once again at the forefront of international aid efforts. Also in previous situations in which Israel volunteered to assist disaster-stricken areas, our response was swift and vital. We immediately sent doctors to aid in preventing the spread of the disease to neighboring countries. We acquired clinics which we are sending today to three countries stricken with Ebola, and we are working together with African countries at their request and in accordance with the situation on the ground. This struggle to contain the disease is a fitting expression of the Foreign Ministry’s vision and aspiration to aid people, whoever they may be, and to strengthen Israel’s ties with other countries.

“Israel has unique expertise in the medical realm, and we willingly share our knowledge with all nations. Israeli expertise belongs to humanity and Israeli society is an active pioneer in the international community.”

Avi Buskila, CEO, Sarel Supplies and Services for Medicine Ltd: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked us to help in the international fight against the Ebola virus, and we immediately agreed. We helped the Ministry with supplies and professional guidance in order to provide in the shortest possible time the best and most professional answer to the patients and the medical staff treating them. The supplies sent will help hundreds of patients in western Africa and we all hope the epidemic will be contained as quickly as possible. At the same time, we are prepared, and assisting the Health Ministry to prepare, in the event that the virus would reach Israel.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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