Ramallah, 24 April 2009
Dr. Fathi Abu Moghli, Minister of Health of the Palestinian territories met with representatives from CF Worldwide, CF Palestine and Palestinian Red Crescent, Hebron branch to discuss developing improved care and access to medication for CF patients living in Palestinian Territories. Currently there is no access to trained CF specialists, most necessary medication or information for people born with CF in Palestinian territories. Most patients are never diagnosed, dying in infancy. CF Worldwide is working to create a network to develop and sustain optimal treatment and access to life saving medications for all Palestinians born with CF.
CF Palestine Association, a new CFW member association, has partnered with CF Worldwide and the Palestinian Red Crescent â Hebron branch to improve the lives of people born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease effecting all major organs of the body. The Palestinian Minister of Health has agreed to consider ways to support the program. CFW will work with the international CF pharmaceutical industry to obtain acceptable options for the MOH purchase of necessary medication. The Palestinian Red Crescent Hospital will offer low cost care for patients in partnership with the MOH in Ramallah.
In order to offer optimal care to patients, a specialized CF Centre will be developed in the Palestinian Red Crescent Hospital in Hebron. CF Worldwide will support the education of a specialized team to work in the new clinic. Dr. Rida, a Pulmonologist trained in CF care at the Hadassah CF Center, has been named Director of the clinic and is working with CF Worldwide medical and allied health advisors developing the education program. Training for Nurses and Doctors will take place in the UK with the CF Worldwide Education Team and specialist from the International Physiotherapy Group for CF and European CF Nutrition Group will offer training at the Hebron hospital. A Microbiologist and Pharmacist will train at Hague Adult CF Center in the Netherlands under the supervision of Dr. Harry Heijerman, CFW Medical Advisor. Special attention will be paid to training on low cost management and developing generic medication in the hospital lab.
The new Hebron PRC hospital is in the Center of H2, Hebron 2. Though there are restrictions, most patients will have the ability to visit the clinic from all territories, excluding Gaza. CF Worldwide will support the education of three additional Doctors from Ramallah, Bethlehem and a General Practitioner from Gaza. Future programs to expand access to care in other major Palestinian cities are being considered by the stakeholders.
The program to develop the clinic is scheduled to begin in late summer, 2009. Clinic construction will be completed and sponsored by the Palestinian Red Crescent Hospital. CF Worldwide will fund all specialized CF equipment for the clinic and physiotherapy room. The full program will be supported by foundations, private donors and the Palestinian Ministry of Health. CF Worldwide is now seeking partners within private foundations and corporations to complete the program.Â The program goal is to begin supplying equipment to Hebron in January 2010.
CF is still relatively unknown in the Middle East and South Asia, though there are increasing numbers of diagnosed patients affected by the disease. Due to the accepted practice of inter-family marriage, the frequency of children born with CF is high. In most cases, there are resources available to manage the CF population, what is missing is the support and knowledge to develop them. Over the next few years, CF Worldwide will focus on the Middle East to bring long term improvements for people with CF.