ICRC’s Chief Surgeon Dr. Harald Veen, just completed a visit in Israel and Gaza where he held a fruitful series of discussions with the Medical authorities and counterparts, and visited several hospitals and medical facilities. The purpose of the visit was to further understand where ICRC can continue to develop and work together with all health authorities, particularly focusing on areas of training.

Together with ICRC’s Health Coordinator Ms. Kirrily Clarke, he visited the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. There, they were received by the director, Dr. Mas’ad Barhoum, who together with clinicians from various hospitals of the region discussed best practice when dealing with patients with orthopedic injuries with them.

Opportunities for cooperation were discussed at the Israel Center for Medical Simulation at the Sheba Medical Center directed by Prof. Amitai Ziv. In particular, ways to develop partnerships for training institutes, that combine traditional ICRC procedures and new technologies to meet the needs of patients, were contemplated. Dr. Veen visited the IDF Trauma and Combat Medical Branch in Tel HaShomer Military base, where he was welcomed by Lt. Col. Avraham Yitzhak and his team, who gave an overview of their activities, which include research and update of medical operational protocols and equipment.

During a meeting with Chaim Rafalowsky, the Magen David Adom emergency coordinator, and Noa Tamir-Hasdai, Head of Emergency Hospitalization and Training from the Emergency and Disaster Department of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Veen was able to discuss ICRC’s future cooperation with MDA and the Israeli Ministry of Health, and the facilitating of shared activities with the ICRC in the near future.

Visiting Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem, where he was welcomed by the CEO Dr. Rafiq Husseini, Dr. Veen received a briefing that helped him evaluate the needs of the hospital in terms of human resources and training, and clarified the hospital’s current concerns in light of the increased number of wounded.

Evaluation of the needs and training opportunities were also at the heart of the visit the Chief surgeon had in Gaza, in particular with the Human Resource and Development Department of the Gazan Ministry of Health and the directors of Shifa and the European Gaza hospitals. During his stay he was able to attend the Emergency Room Trauma Course, facilitated four times a year for physicians and nurses in Gaza, to train in emergency medical and clinical techniques.

What strikes me,” commented Dr. Veen at the conclusion of his visit ”is that in every meeting we had, be it with the ministries of health in Israel or in Gaza, be it with the IDF or with the various hospital directors, is that I could sense very high standards of ethics and impartiality”.