Donated medicine ensures health care for Palestinian farmers
In the south of Palestine’s West Bank in the Hebron Governorate is the farming town of Idhna. Polluted water threatens health here & infections are common.
Idhna is a town of 30,000 people in Hebron Governorate in the south of Palestine’s West Bank. Most of Idhna’s residents are farmers. The village lacks a proper water and sanitation system so many residents dig wells for themselves. Waste dumped by nearby settlers often contaminates the little water Idhna gets, which is then stored in unhygienic tanks and wells. As a result, water is unsafe for use.
The wells are a primary source of bacterial infections, according to Ismail Tmaizi, a local physician.
Anera’s partner, the Palestinian Red Crescent clinic, is the largest charitable society providing medicine free-of-charge to all residents. It is a vital health care resource for Palestinian communities, particularly urgent care. The closest hospital is about 25 minutes away — which can be an eternity in an emergency.
Antibiotics bolster the Palestinian health care system
At the moment, Tmaizi is seeing a patient. Fadel is experiencing indigestion, diarrhea and upper abdominal pain. This cluster of symptoms point to an infection by Helicobacter pylori bacteria. For a definitive diagnosis Tmaizi performs a breath test, collects a stool sample and conducts an upper endoscopy to look into the stomach.
To treat H. pylori infections, clinic physicians prescribe metronidazole in combination with another drug like omeprazole. Fadel will need to take the medicine twice a day for two weeks and come in for a follow-up visit. Tmaizi says patients usually start to respond to the metronidazole within a week. However, a treatment course can take as long as a month.
“Polluted water is the main threat to people’s health,” Tmaizi says. He advises people in the area to always boil water before consuming it.
Unfortunately, the number of patients suffering from H.pylori infections has been increasing. The clinic now sees an average of five cases every day.
Thanks to an in-kind medical donation by Medical Education Training and Development, Anera recently distributed 3,500 tablets of metronidazole to the Palestine Red Crescent Society clinic in Ithna. The shipping costs were covered by Islamic Relief USA.
The views expressed herein are those of Anera and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of IRUSA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.