A member of IsraAid helping out local residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Photo courtesy of IsraAID.
42. Israel is the world-recognized leader in raising therapeutic clowning to the level of a standardized, research-backed healthcare discipline. Its internationally renowned Dream Doctors Project has trained and placed nearly 100 practitioners at 22 hospitals in Israel. Dream Doctors worked with the University of Haifa to establish the world’s only academic degree program in clown therapy as a paramedical profession. Much of the groundbreaking research on the measurable effects of medical clowning is being done in Israel and shared in international forums.
43. Water-purification technologies developed in Israel to recycle the country’s limited water resources are now being used to help save India’s sacred Noyyal River.
The 160-kilometer Noyyal River once provided water for around 20,000 acres of rich agricultural land, but toxic waste from textile factories has choked the river, destroying local agriculture and wildlife, and polluting groundwater in more than 95 villages in the region.
The Indians are using Israeli-developed nano-filtration to remove dissolved pollutants. Israeli desalination expert, BGU Prof. Yoram Oren, is spearheading the effort.
44. Earlier this month, Israel set up a field hospital along its border with Syria to treat Syrians wounded in the country’s bloody civil war. Though Syria is an enemy nation, Israeli army medics have been treating dozens of wounded Syrian civilians at the makeshift hospital and in past months Israeli hospitals have treated refugee Syrians as well. According to the UN, about 1.2 million Syrians have been internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to neighboring countries.
45. Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa runs a yearly trauma-care training course for participants from Africa, South America and the Far East in cooperation with Israel’s Foreign Ministry. The medical center also offers fellowships to African doctors specializing in areas including plastic surgery, pediatrics and AIDS, funded by partners such as MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry, international NGOs and the host countries.
46. Israeli engineers and medical specialists have erected a state-of-the-art emergency room in Kisumu, Kenya, servicing a population of six million. The facility, at the Kisumu East District Hospital, was built in less than a month and is the hospital’s first fully-equipped ER. It will be a center for both regional emergency treatment and professional training.
The effort was led by MASHAV, which has been working in Kenya since the 1950s, when it set up ophthalmology field clinics. Since then, the organization is also involved in projects on food security, health, education and empowerment of women.
47. Israel’s Galten Global Alternative Energy has developed a method of obtaining biofuel from the seeds of the jatropha, a plant that doesn’t compete with food crops. Plantings have already begun in Ghana. Currently only one ton of biofuel can be extracted from 2.5 acres of edible crops such as corn or soybeans, whereas three tons of biofuel can be produced from the same amount of soil growing jatropha plants.
48. The Hadassah Medical Organization works in coordination with the Israel Foreign Ministry and other Israeli agencies on a range of humanitarian projects around the world including a volunteer HIV/AIDS education and treatment program in Ethiopia and Kazakhstan; eye surgery for needy African patients; adult male circumcision for HIV prevention in Africa; and public health education in Kathmandu.
Hadassah medical personnel have also participated in Israeli rescue operations around the world since 1960. Among the disaster scenes where they’ve brought critical care expertise are Armenia, Turkey, Greece, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Nairobi and Tanzania. Recently, the government of Panama hired Hadassah as a consultant to build a state-of-the-art trauma unit there.
49. In November 2012, the IDF and MADA sent rescue and medical personnel to help when a shopping mall collapsed in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. The IDF group consisted of 18 healthcare workers, engineers and communication experts to assist in the rescue operation. MADA sent another delegation of doctors, paramedics and emergency medical personnel to set up a field hospital.