Dr. Dov Albukrek, Chief Medical Officer at the Meuhedet health service organization, discussed the performance of the Israeli health system since the beginning of the war and specifically that of Meuhedet with Maayan Hoffman, Deputy CEO, Strategy & Innovation for The Jerusalem Post, at The Jerusalem Post’s Israel Summit.
Recalling the events of October 7, Albukrek said, “Our health system proved again its strength, quality, and agility in this event. Within hours of the beginning of the war, Meuhedet launched an emergency support hotline, assisting thousands of people who needed emotional support from psychologists and social workers. Every one of the calls told us a story of severe trauma, near-death experiences, anxiety, or even just difficulty to carry on daily tasks.”
In the wake of the evacuation of Israeli communities in the Gaza envelope and the northern border region to areas such as the Dead Sea, which has minimal medical services, Meuhedet quickly set up mobile clinics to treat patients in those places and added treatment locations in cities such as Eilat, where thousands of evacuees have been staying. “I am proud to say our staff demonstrated extraordinary devotion, and we were able to initiate medical services to treat tens of thousands of patients who evacuated their homes to Eilat, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities,” he said.
Special services for English speakers
Albukrek outlined some of Meuhedet’s unique features for English speakers, including English language support at its call centers and on its website, but mostly understood the complexity of moving to a new country and having to navigate a new health system, especially when it isn’t in one’s mother tongue. Understanding this situation allows Meuhedet to tailor itself to the individual needs of patients, whether they are new olim (immigrants) or dealing with a specific medical issue. It’s in the Meuhedet DNA to see each and every one of its patients and their unique needs, he said.
In response to Hoffman’s query about doctors and nurses who may be considering moving to Israel, Albukrek noted that Israel has a shortage of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. “Medical professions are in great need in Israel, in almost every field. We are very happy to incorporate them into our medical services in Meuhedet and can offer them positions anywhere in the country where they choose to live. Being a doctor in a new country, speaking a new language, and dealing with a new bureaucracy can be overwhelming, which is why we make it a point to be by their side, making the process as easy as possible. We even make sure that each new doctor has a personal mentor and has all the assistance and guidance they need,” he said, adding that he would be happy to personally assist members of the medical profession who are interested in making aliyah.
“I must say that the solidarity of Jews worldwide during this time is very moving,” said Albukrek. “We can’t take it for granted.”