Hadassah International proudly celebrates the realization of a historic agreement it has facilitated for collaboration between Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and COMISCA, an intergovernmental organization representing seven Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.

For the past two years, Hadassah International has facilitated informational webinars and interventions, including a Manual of Protocols for COVID-19 developed by HMO, that have allowed countries and communities around the world to gain access to the medical expertise of Hadassah Medical Organization, particularly in the area of COVID-19. This included a mission to Argentina which resulted in collaborations in several medical arenas.

Following the success of these activities, COMISCA, The Council of Ministries of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic, an organization that brings together the Governmental Ministries of Health of eight countries, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, approached Hadassah International and indicated that it was interested in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem, Israel, seeking mutual collaborations and an exchange of ideas on a number of medical issues.

After successful negotiations, the official inauguration of this historic agreement was celebrated in a formal ceremony on January 19th, 2022, hosted by Melissa Marcia Hernandez de Ayala, Cooperation Director of COMISCA.

Jorge Diener, Executive Director of Hadassah International, welcomed the representatives from all eight countries, COMISCA, and Hadassah Medical Organization who participated in the virtual ceremony recognizing this new partnership. He stated that this is an extraordinary moment in history. The model that Hadassah has developed is bringing health to the nations of the world while providing a platform to create solutions to the medical problems faced by the people of all nations. “This is such an incredible moment to be able to create this dialogue and collaboration with the Ministries of Health of the countries from Central America. This is an example of how the nations get united to generate solutions for humanity.”

Prof. Yoram Weiss, Acting Director-General, Hadassah Medical Organization expressed his delight in being able to share the expertise of the Hadassah hospitals with countries in Central America and is looking forward to providing training for doctors from the area, while learning from them. “The collaboration that is created is huge. It can be an educational collaboration, a clinical collaboration, and a research collaboration. It can be fruitful for both directions.”

Dr. Alejandra Acuña Navarro, Executive Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (SE-COMISCA) commended the participating countries for working together to define the important elements of the agreement. The agreement is a great opportunity for the Central American Region. It will provide the tools and opportunities to facilitate exchanges of knowledge, and personnel. “With this symbolic act, we establish the relationship between Hadassah Medical Organization and COMISCA and this constitutes a great opportunity for the region of Central America and the Dominican Republic.”

Ms. Thays Noriega from Panama spoke on behalf of the ministries of health of the countries participating in the agreement. She commended HMO for its outstanding reputation for healing, teaching, and research and expressed her pleasure that Central America will now be able to benefit from this expertise. She added that the countries involved are ready to collaborate and do whatever is necessary to facilitate the implementation of this agreement, particularly allowing medical students from Central America to gain knowledge through internships and residencies. “With this Memorandum, the Central American region will benefit from sharing developments and innovation that will search for mutual solutions to the challenges in health and medicine.”

The collaborative measures agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding include:

  • An exchange of knowledge
  • The promotion of internships and exchanges of medical students
  • Access to professional resources through the Hadassah Health Network in Latin America
  • The development of joint medical research projects, including clinical trials on health issues of epidemiological importance that respond to public health problems of interest to both parties.

Signatories to the agreement are Prof. Yoram Weiss, Acting Director-General, Hadassah Medical Organization, and Dra. Alejandra Acuña Navarro, Executive Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America and the Dominican Republic (SE-COMISCA).

Attending as a representative of their government’s Ministry of Health were Health Minister Daniel Salas Peraza from Costa Rica; Health Minister Martha Verónica Reyes from Nicaragua; Health Vice-Minister Jorge Meneses from Guatemala; Health Secretary Alba Consuelo Flores from Honduras; Cooperation Director Thays Noriega from Panama; Cooperation Manager Indhira Guillén from the Dominican Republic; Cooperation Manager Dianie Ek from Belize; and Cooperation Manager Roberto Bonilla from El Salvador.

This agreement will provide better health and scientific collaborations that will indeed improve the lives of millions of people. For Hadassah International, it is one more bridge among nations and marks one further step in healing the world.