The collaboration of Hadassah’s Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Center with a dedicated Palestinian health care team has enabled Hadassah to help establish a true CF Center in Gaza.

While CF is a very complicated, multisystem disease which has no cure, a specialized, multidisciplinary staff can ensure a better quality of life for its victims. CF, a life-limiting, autosomal, recessive genetic disorder, affects a person’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems, as well as sweat glands.

The newly established CF Center in Gaza, which is open one day a week, is at present staffed by volunteers who have not specialized in CF care. All needed laboratory tests and chest x-rays are carried out by the Red Cross. Hadassah is now providing specialized training to a team of Palestinian health professionals–three physicians, a nurse, and a physiotherapist–so they can give optimal treatment to their CF patients. Prof. Eitan Kerem, head of Hadassah’s CF Center, prepared a syllabus, and all the members of Hadassah’s multidisciplinary team are participating as lecturers.

The Palestinian physicians first undertook six months of general pediatric training and are now in an intensive six-month program to specialize in CF care. The nurse just completed her three-month training, developed by Shoshi Armoni, RN, of Hadassah’s Cystic Fibrosis Center, together with Hadassah’s nursing administration. It involved three days each week at Hadassah; two were devoted to observing nursing activities, and the third was reserved for discussion and additional education with Ms. Armoni. “During these one-on-one dialogues,” Mrs. Armoni says, “I explained the vision and ideals of my own personal credo for development of the CF nurse.”  The physiotherapist, undergoing a three-month program, is being trained two days a week by Hadassah’s physiotherapists in the CF Center and three days a week in the rehabilitation department of Hadassah Hospital-Mount Scopus.

“The links we have forged with our Palestinian colleagues,” notes Mrs. Armoni, “form the basis of a better future for CF patients in Gaza.”