Khan al Ahmar: MAP-supported mobile clinic supporting the community

Rasha Kaloti, MAP’s Programme Officer in the West Bank, recently accompanied the MAP-supported mobile health clinic on a visit to the Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar. Below she describes the care provided to the village:

The MAP-funded mobile clinic, run in partnership with the Islah Charitable Society (ICS), provides primary health services, first aid training and maternal health to 27 Bedouin villages in the Jordan Valley.

Here, in the 60% of the West Bank designated as ‘Area C’, where Israel maintains full military and civil control and severely restricts Palestinian development, there is not a single permanent Palestinian health centre. Israeli settlements on the same land, illegal under international law, have modern hospitals and clinics.

On a typical day, the mobile health clinic visits three or four communities. The ICS always coordinates with community leaders in advance, so they know which days that they will be visiting.

The clinic is currently visiting each of these Bedouin communities twice per month. We are hoping to increase the frequency of visits soon, especially as UNRWA is no longer able to offer its healthcare services to these communities as a result of its funding deficit, and also due to the increased demand for healthcare services among Palestinians living in these areas.

Support MAP to urgently raise the funds to increase the frequency of the mobile health clinics visits

Last week, I joined the mobile clinic’s visit to Abu-Falah and Dawaheek, both in the cluster of communities which comprise Khan al Ahmar. Khan al Ahmar is under imminent threat of forcible transfer by Israel under plans to demolish the community and allow surrounding settlements to expand.

During the visit, the mobile clinic team provided healthcare and advice to pregnant women, new mothers and children. Pregnant women were provided with consultations and health check-ups, newborns were registered, and children were weighed as part of the regular monitoring of their health.

According to one woman from Abu Falah community: “ICS and MAP’s support during pregnancy is great, we are provided with vitamins and iron supplements, as well as diabetes and blood pressure tests. We receive full support during pregnancy.

Another woman from Dawaheek, who we met during our visit, highlighted the importance of the mobile clinic because of the lack of transportation for these communities: “This service is excellent and very much needed, especially as it is difficult for us to walk long distances to receive healthcare," she said.

During the visit, the community health worker also delivered an interesting health awareness session to the women. She told them about hygiene practices that would help prevent cold and flu, how it is transmitted from one person to another in cold weather, and how best to treat it. The health worker also discussed the medications that were distributed, including when they should be used and advised about dosage.  

I was very impressed by the fact that the doctor, the community health workers and ICS coordinator are well known to everyone in the Bedouin communities and have good relations with the people including the leaders. The community leader from Dawaheek told me: “The best thing about the ICS is that they are truthful, they come at specific times that we know in advance. They know how to communicate and deal with community members, they know everyone in the community and this is unique.

I am thrilled that in the new year, thanks to the generosity of MAP supporters, a brand new mobile clinic will be visiting these communities. It is currently being renovated to include the amenities of an entire GP clinic. I look forward to reporting on its first visits in early 2019.