Medical aid allows for proper treatment of asthma and respiratory illnesses in northern West Bank
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, respiratory diseases are among the top 10 causes of death in the West Bank. In the wider region, these illnesses account for only 3% of all deaths. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases cause a considerable burden of morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Yet essential medications for chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and asthma are expensive and often simply not available.
To address this situation, Anera partnered with Health Partners international of Canada to deliver ipratropium bromide to 12 health centers in the West Bank that serve vulnerable communities. Ipratropium Bromide is an anticholinergic used to treat symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
Patient’s Friends Society is a non-profit humanitarian medical center, located in Ya’bad, a town on the outskirts of Jenin. Due to frequent and escalating military incursions and Israeli settler attacks in the area, the health system as seen an increase in injuries.
The regular closures of Jenin during such escalations restricts movement and can force patients to seek medical attention at alternate facilities.
These factors have led to an increase in the number of patients visiting the Patient’s Friends Society, with residents from all 13 surrounding towns seeking medical attention here. Rashid Hamzi, a member of the board of directors for the Patient’s Friends Society, says:
“Respiratory issues are of high prevalence in Ya’bad. The area suffers from high pollution due to the presence of coal factories in close proximity to the village, as well as, the frequent emissions of tear gas canisters and skunk water by the Israeli military. These factors heavily impact the occurrence of asthma in healthy individuals.
“Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases medications have been unavailable for the past two months from the Ministry of Health, and our patients have been suffering immensely.”
“The toll on Patient’s Friends Society has increased immensely recently. Anera is our only donor, and we are a non-profit humanitarian medical center. We see our patients for a reduced price of 20 shekels and services are free. We serve disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, so we can't provide our patients with medications unless supplied by Anera.”
Sami is a retired 75 year old. He has had asthma from a young age and has been suffering from worsened acute episodes for the past 10 years. With no availability of medications for the past two months, his situation exacerbated. Sami says:
“I have had to be rushed to the hospital five times in the past two months due to unavailability of medication. It was very scary and my family thought it was the end for me.
"Thankfully Patient’s Friends Society received the medication from Anera and provided it to me free of charge. I felt my symptoms ease within five days of taking ipratropium.”
"I have had to be rushed to the hospital five times in the past two months due to unavailability of medication. It was very scary and my family thought it was the end for me."
Bassam is 57 years old and has been suffering from asthma for the past 8 years. He used to work in construction, where he was exposed to high levels of dust that may have caused his asthma. He is currently unemployed and has a family of four. He says,
“I can’t afford to buy this medication regularly, which hugely impacts my well being. I am grateful to Anera and its donors for providing this free medication.”
“I can’t afford to buy this medication regularly, which hugely impacts my well being."
“We want to share our huge gratitude to Anera for its continuous support to Patient’s Friends Society. We here at Patient’s Friends Society try to offer the best medical services free of charge or at a reduced price to communities that otherwise would not be able to afford seeking medical treatment. Anera has had a great role in enabling us to achieve our mission and we hope to continue working together to provide impactful aid.”