An article in The Lancet Oncology by doctors from Rambam Health Care Campus and Augusta Victoria Hospital focuses on Palestinian cancer care and Rambam’s role in helping to training of Palestinian doctors, as well as the launching of a new program towards developing independency in cancer care.
In its November 2019 issue, the well-known medical journal The Lancet Oncology published a paper written by a team of doctors from Rambam Health Care Campus and Augusta Victoria Hospital; the authors included Rambam’s Professor Ziv Gil, Director of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, and Dr. Salem Billan, Director of Radiation Oncology and Director of the Head and Neck Unit in the Division of Oncology. Titled “Developing an independent Palestinian cancer care capacity,” the paper addresses some of the issues facing the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to create an independent healthcare system and the role that Rambam is playing through its partnership with Palestinian hospital Augusta Victoria, located in East Jerusalem and owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation.
This ongoing partnership program was initially established in 2011 with doctors from Rambam’s Head and Neck Center and Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, who helped to build a similar department at Augusta Victoria. In the framework of this program, Dr. Billan has traveled to Augusta Victoria every Saturday for 12 years.
This partnership is now being expanded to include a five-year program aimed at training Palestinian healthcare providers, focusing on such areas of importance as bone-marrow transplantation, hepatobiliary medicine, breast and head and neck surgery, palliative care, and nuclear medicine. According to The Lancet Oncology article, “The treatment protocols established by the Israeli-Palestinian teams have allowed patients with cancer to have a higher standard of care in their community and at a lower cost than in neighboring countries, saving the lives of thousands of Palestinian patients.”
The team of doctors state that “The Rambam–Augusta Victoria Hospital initiative has proven itself to be an effective tool towards Palestinian independence in health care. This joint effort can be used not only to improve medical care for the population, but also as a force for increasing solidarity among individuals and to build bridges between nations. We believe the curriculum introduced by this voluntary partnership will shift the framework of cancer treatment in the areas governed by the Palestinian Authority and serve as a model for the development of health-care services in conflict regions around the world.”