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“Jewish Healthcare International” Project – Seven Years in Moldova

It is the 7th year that JHI (Jewish Healthcare International) works in Moldova and there was a current JHI mission visiting the country on November 6-13, 2006.
The goal of JHI is to enhance the healthcare services to Jewish communities in need by utilizing teams of healthcare professional volunteers from Israel and the USA as well as to foster closer ties between the Israeli, American and host country medical communities. In Moldova JHI operates through the JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee), Hesed Jewish Welfare Organization and JAFI (Jewish Agency for Israel), coordinated by Ms. Natalia Alhazova.

Besides healthcare experts, the JHI Executive Director Ms. Terri Bagen and a volunteer from the Jewish community of Atlanta Ms. Peggy Roth joined the mission. As for the medical professionals, the team included four specialists from the USA and Israel:
Cardiologist, Dr. Lanny Lesser (Atlanta, Georgia)
Speech and Swallowing Specialist Dr. Betty Sunshine (Atlanta, Georgia)
Physical Therapist Dr. Lubov Pikman (Netania, Israel)
Occupational Therapist Dr. Inna Morgulis
The doctors lectured in 5 seminars attended by healthcare professionals and caregivers from both the Jewish and secular communities. Lectures were also given in 3 local medical hospitals. To train Hesed homecare workers the team traveled to Beltsy, the second biggest Jewish community after Kishinev, and to Tiraspol, the Jewish population of Transnistria being covered by the Hesed services as well. In the latter, besides teaching homecare, the JHI doctors presented to the doctors from Transnistria – Rybnitsa, Bendery and Dubossary. Wherever they were, doctors consulted Hesed clients and went on home visits to homebound people, gaining insight into the problems associated with a large number of elderly and handicapped children.
Especially exciting was seeing in good health and making much progress Evelina Zlobina, the child in Beltsy whose operation had been performed several years ago through the effort of JHI and JAFI. The mission paid much attention to examining and consulting other children in need in the community. There were also productive meetings with Prof. Liliana Groppa and Ms. Elena Stempovskaya, Chief Nurse of Moldova.
In addition to the medical component of the mission, the participants learned about the rich Jewish culture and history – saw Jewish sites, visited the Museum of Jews of Bessarabia, listened to klezmer music and songs in Yiddish, were present at the opening of Israeli film festival, etc. At the summation with Ms. Vera Krizhak, JDC representative in Moldova, and Ms. Evgenia Tsobor, JAFI representative in Moldova, all mission members admitted that they had had an exciting professional and personal experience. They went back home having helped to improve the quality of healthcare for the entire community and personally enriched by their experiences and by the people they had met.
“JHI is a special partner of the Jewish community of Moldova and we appreciate the professional exchange and warm friendship. – said in the end of the visit Ms. Terri Bagen, the JHI Executive Director. - This is my third trip to Kishinev. And I still admire the atmosphere, warmth and hospitality of the community – and now there is a magnificent Campus! Mazal Tov!