Project Rozana delivers ventilators to Palestine Authority

May 28, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Australian headquartered, international not-for-profit, Project Rozana has responded to an urgent call from the Palestinian Authority (PA) with a delivery of much-needed life-support, invasive ventilators as COVID-19 continues to threaten the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Ron Finkel

It will also fund critical and comprehensive online and onsite training for Palestinian ICU-based medical teams by specialists working at Rambam Hospital in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

This initiative has been endorsed by the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel in coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO).  The Australian Government played a key role in facilitating Project Rozana access to the needed ventilators.

Despite the best efforts of local health authorities, the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with potential increases in caseload remains severely impaired by longstanding challenges and critical shortages, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Currently, 322 adult ventilators are available in Palestine for 4.9 million people, most of which are already in use.

Established in Australia in 2013, Project Rozana is dedicated to building understanding between Israelis and Palestinians through health.  Founder and chair, Ron Finkel, said, “We were approached directly by the Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Riad Malki with an urgent request for hospital-grade life-support invasive ventilators.   He said that 20 are needed immediately and another 30 as soon as possible after that to prepare for the anticipated surge in COVID-19 infections.

“The Palestinian Authority is competing with better-resourced communities worldwide that are less constrained in their access to funds,” Mr. Finkel said.

“Our core mission is to empower the Palestinian health system and with the active support of the Australian government, we have sourced and will deliver 20 of these Australian-made ventilators immediately.  We are also funding the training of Palestinian ICU health teams who will be treating the critically ill patients.”

Dr Malki said that Palestinian health authorities have advised that with the COVID-19 disease spreading, “It will be a humanitarian disaster for the Palestinian people if this vital equipment isn’t available now.

“Our existing infrastructure will be sorely tested without access to sophisticated equipment to provide the additional capacity needed to meet the inevitable surge in critical care patients.”

Mr Finkel said Project Rozana has secured 20 life support Astral 150 hospital grade invasive ventilators from the Sydney offices of one of the world’s leading respirator manufacturers, ResMed.  A fundraising campaign* is now underway to meet the costs of these units and the accessories and training required to operate them (see below).

The 20 ventilators were sent by air freight to Israel and are being delivered on Thursday 28th May to the PA Foreign Ministry in Ramallah for distribution to the allocated hospitals.

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