Brian Blum
September 10, 2018, Updated September 6, 2018

Into a country where medicine, manpower and equipment are all in short supply came the Israelis. Their goal: to teach advanced CPR in the heart of Africa.

A senior delegation from the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa recently gave an emergency medicine course to local doctors and nursing staff in the village of Nakuru, Kenya.

The course, which included lectures, simulations and individual training, was initiated by Prof. Ruth Margalit, who is responsible for Global Medicine at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology.

“It’s very important to understand what we were up against,” explained Prof. Itay Shavit, director of Rambam’s Pediatric Emergency Department and head of the medical team.

“Through Israeli eyes, it is hard to imagine how quality medicine can be given to patients in the hospitals in rural Kenya. The infrastructure is old or non-existent, there is a great shortage of basic medical equipment … doctors are almost non-existent and most of the work is done by nurses.”

The Rambam team taught their local counterparts CPR equipment maintenance, case-management techniques, basic and advanced resuscitation methods and how to use equipment they had never encountered before. The Israelis brought medical equipment and simulation dolls.

“Because the gaps are great, the challenge is great, but it was exciting to see how quickly the changes were made and how easy it is to make a difference,” said team member Ravit Idelman, a senior nurse in Rambam’s ER department.

Rambam Health Care Campus Pediatric ER Head Nurse Ravit Idelman training Kenyan personnel on a simulation doll. Photo: courtesy

Rambam has given similar courses in Romania.

“When we accepted the proposal to hold the course in Africa, we did not hesitate for a moment,” added Dr. Hadas Levin Kanani, a senior ER physician. “Knowledge and skills help save lives in places where the need is greatest.”

The team intends to return to Africa to do more training on a regular basis and “to reach any place where we and our experience can help,” Idelman said.

Rick Hirschhaut, National Executive Director of American Friends of Rambam Medical Center, described the team’s work in Africa as “the highest humanitarian values of global citizenship.”

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