Health can be a bridge to peace in conflict zones - ISRAEL21c

Well being is usually a bridge to peace in battle zones – ISRAEL21c

Since October, Dr. Dorit Nitzan is at dwelling in Israel, directing the graduate program in emergency medication preparedness and response at Ben-Gurion College of the Negev.

That is uncommon, as a result of as an worker of the World Well being Group he has lived overseas for a lot of the final 17.5 years.

Well being can turn out to be a bridge to peace, says Nitzan, a nutritionist, pediatrician and public well being professional.

He directed the Meals and Diet Administration on the Israeli Ministry of Well being from June 1996 to September 2005 and did world well being work by the Ministries of Well being and International Affairs and the World Meals Programme.

One in all her first assignments was to work in Ethiopian feeding camps within the wake of a famine.

After becoming a member of WHO, Nitzan managed the general public well being features of the South East European Well being Community and was the WHO consultant in Serbia till 2012. Her group obtained the UN twenty first Century Award for its work with the group of the Roma.

Dr. Dorit Nijan works on the NATAN-Polish Crimson Cross clinic on the Ukrainian-Polish border. Photograph courtesy of Dorit Nitzan

The challenges confronted by the Roma have accompanied my life for a few years, he says.

They’d no entry to schooling, well being or welfare providers and plenty of have been sick. This taught me that we have to take note of essentially the most weak, addressing poverty and the social determinants of well being.

He carried this understanding into my subsequent place because the WHO consultant in Ukraine from 2012 to 2016.

Her response to the Roma drawback was uniquely Israeli. We established in Belgrade what I known as the primary Roma kibbutz, he says.

The SWIFT (Sustainable Waste Initiative For a More healthy Tomorrow) village was centered round a collective waste administration centre. Now run by the group itself, SWIFT presents healthcare and schooling to kids and adults. Nitzan knew that entry to well being providers, literacy and employment may make the Roma seen in a society that ignored them.

Serbia and different nations have made large strides since then, he notes.

You’ve got a degree

Nitzan was rather more lucky than the Roma. She and her sister grew up in a loving household in a modest condominium in Rishon LeZion, the place her father, navy careerist Meir Nitzan, would later serve 4 phrases as mayor from 1983.

Love and care, and figuring out that you just imply one thing to somebody, is such an essential determinant of well being and well-being, she says.

Health can be a bridge to peace in conflict zones
Dr. Dorit Nijan with colleagues on the NATAN-Polish Crimson Cross clinic on the Ukrainian-Polish border. Photograph courtesy of Dorit Nitzan

My mother and father are all the time concerned in management and serving to others. My sister and I have been taught to take care of neighbors, the aged, and inspired to be what we wished to be.

She obtained an additional increase from an unlucky occasion: a breast most cancers prognosis when she was 33 and a brand new physician.

This lemon made such nice lemonade, says Nitzan.

I made a decision if I may have a brief life I needed to do what I all the time dreamed of. Since I used to be a baby I wished to be a health care provider, an envoy and an actor. So I made a decision to attempt to put all of it collectively in some way.

How communities handle

Nitzans’ work expertise is broad each by way of duties and geography.

He served as a marketing consultant on vitamin, meals security, public well being and emergency response in China, Moldova and the Russian Federation.

He has led catastrophe preparedness and response missions in Africa, South America and Asia, together with following the 2004 tsunami in Thailand and the 2017 cholera outbreak in Ethiopia.

Each instances in Ethiopia, I used to be impressed by how the communities took cost and arranged themselves. One in 5 households had a family that obtained well being schooling and helped neighbors in teams of 10 and 20 households, he says.

It struck me that folks with out entry to well being providers, dwelling in excessive poverty, have robust social ties and mutual assist that helped them elevate their kids and ship them to high school — together with women, says Nitzan, a mom two large women.

Health can be a bridge to peace in conflict zones
Dr. Dorit Nitzan with the WHO Emergency Crew in Romania. Photograph courtesy of Dorit Nitzan

I visited Ethiopia lately and noticed that these kids are nicely educated and dealing nationally and internationally. In locations the place folks assist one another, even when the federal government shouldn’t be robust or supportive, they’ll succeed. So wherever I am going, I attempt to see how communities are doing.

Retired, however not for lengthy

After Ukraine — the place she led WHO’s humanitarian operations and the Well being Cluster and the response to the polio epidemic amongst different duties — Nitzan spent 4 years on the WHO Regional Workplace in Copenhagen in numerous management capacities.

On February 18, 2022, Nitzan retired from WHO and went dwelling. On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine.

I known as everybody I do know for humanitarian help. Fortuitously, the president of NATAN Worldwide Catastrophe Aid got here to my home and requested me if I used to be prepared to guide the primary mission, which I agreed to do with the assist of Udi Cohen, who knew the system higher than I did, says Nitzan.

For me, this was superb as a result of after beginning my worldwide profession within the feeding camps in Ethiopia after which for therefore a few years in administration positions on the WHO, right here I used to be working with folks once more.

In April, the WHO regional director requested Nitzan to return and lead its well being and associated humanitarian response in Ukraine. He stayed there for six months.


He discovered the state of affairs in Ukraine heartbreaking.

I noticed a soldier in a hospital with half his physique lacking. I noticed kids and moms strolling in freezing temperatures, strolling from hell into the unknown. You possibly can see that we people trigger extra harm to one another than earthquakes or hurricanes. It is simply horrible.

Nonetheless, he hopes that after the battle ends, Ukrainians will regain their prosperity, as he noticed occurred in Serbia in 2001 after the tip of the lengthy warfare in Yugoslavia.

In the course of the Yugoslav warfare, well being was compromised particularly for the poor, the disabled, the aged, and people with power diseases, and for the marginalized, such because the Roma. Every household had members on reverse sides of the warfare. However as soon as the preventing stopped, folks have been able to forgive and work collectively for the well-being of all, Nitzan says.

The South East European Well being Community was the platform for shared management and collaboration. Every nation led in particular well being sectors. For instance, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the chief for psychological well being and Albania for communicable ailments.

This mannequin of well being for peace continues to encourage her.

Solidarity in our DNA

In all of the catastrophe areas Nitzan has seen firsthand over time, he notes, Israelis are all the time among the many first to run and assist. I’m all the time very proud to see it.

We’ve got in depth expertise in lots of features of humanitarian help. And solidarity runs in our DNA. We all know help. We care, he says.

The Israelis do not simply work with different organizations on the bottom, they counsel how enterprise may be achieved higher, he provides.

We carry progressive approaches wherever we go. We give you completely different concepts about do issues, concepts exterior the field.

Nonetheless, he sees room for enchancment. Israeli help NGOs and volunteers want extra assist from the state as a result of lots of them do not have medical health insurance once they go overseas, and I need to make certain we have now a bundle for frontline staff overseas, he says.

And we’d like an even bigger price range for humanitarian help. MASHAV [Israels agency for development cooperation] it is nice, however it has to take a proportion of GDP. Present funding is inadequate to do that tikun olam [world repair] which all of us attempt for.

By way of her involvement within the Society for Worldwide Improvement (SID) Israel, she plans to advocate for these modifications within the Israeli Knesset.

Dana Manor, deputy director of SID Israel, says Nitzan is a mannequin for constructive change.

We admire Dorits’ management in bettering the sector of worldwide improvement and humanitarian help in Israel and selling the gorgeous work we do. He advises us on how Israel can community with the WHO and different humanitarian businesses around the globe, says Manor.

Nitzan additionally believes that Israel wants to higher prepare help staff, which is one motive she was enthusiastic about her new place at BGU.

I taught in universities in Europe and within the universities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. I’m so fortunate to be again now and coaching youthful generations to hitch the frontline workforce.

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