Medical staff and teachers at Israel’s public hospitals are looking forward to working more closely together in caring for children following Kadima Mada-Kav Or’s (KMKO) presence at the Israel Ambulatory Paediatric Association’s (IAPA) annual convention in Tel Aviv.
The convention brought together 1,400 paediatricians and paediatric nurses as well as principals of the schools which are placed in each of the 27 general hospitals to enable the thousands of children who are admitted for treatment every year to keep up with their studies.
Until now, many medical staff members were not fully aware of what these schools provided for their young patients, nor how Kadima Mada-Kav Or was raising the quality of the facilities. “It was our biggest convention ever and for the first time enjoyed full cooperation with nurses and Kadima Mada-Kav Or,” said IPA Chairman Professor Mati Berkovitz. “For the first time, many people could meet the people behind Kadima Mada-Kav Or’s activities. Younger staff tended not to be aware of the educational programme but the greater awareness resulting from what they heard at the convention will make it easier to cooperate and work together. This is very important.”
Professor Berkovitz added that he would like to make KMKO’s presence at the IAPA convention a regular fixture and to explore further avenues of collaboration.
“I am very happy and proud with what happened at the convention. It’s a seed that’s been planted and only good things will come out of it.”
Manager of the KMKO project, Avi Ganon, addressed more than 1,000 people at the IAPA convention’s opening session after which KMKO delegates were joined by doctors for a lecture on “Interactive Environment as a Means of Relaxation” by psychologist Dr Pinchas Kasuto. The school principals later attended an exclusive management skills workshop.
“This has increased the doctors’ knowledge of what we do and their willingness to participate in what we’re doing,” Mr Ganon said. “We want to show doctors that the educational facilities we support are one more tool that can help in the children’s healing process.”
He also alerted the audience to the next stage of KMKO’s upgrading of the schools’ facilities. Having already introduced more computers, Internet links and other much-needed modern equipment to enable a unified educational programme, the next step will be to bring more advanced equipment and programmes, including science labs, as well as additional resources for isolated children in oncology wards and psychiatric hospitals.
The impact of KMKO on patients’ well-being is already highly appreciated by Dr Adi Klein-Kremer, Head of Paediatrics at Hillel-Yaffe Medical Centre in Hadera.
Since Kadima Mada teamed up with the pre-existing Kav Or network a year ago – in cooperation with Israel’s Ministries of Education, Health and Welfare, and the Prime Minister’s Office and thanks to a major donation from the Swiss-based SASA Setton Foundation – the change had been “dramatic”, Dr Klein-Kremer said.
“We had two computers which were so old that they could barely cope with the Internet; now we have an Interactive Whiteboard and other equipment including more than 10 new computers,” she said.
Her patients, who come from a wide variety of Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, are now able to keep in direct contact with their classmates and teachers and so not fall behind in their studies, while older students can study for and even take exams. Just as important, the computers provide a valuable leisure time resource.
“It’s a great satisfaction for me to see that the children are not only getting the best medical treatment we can give them,” Dr Klein-Kremer said. “Having all these programmes for the children takes away from their disease and from their pain.”
And, as advances in medical science save the lives of more children with chronic conditions, the need for superior educational services in hospital is increasing as the number of long-stay patients increases.
“The upgrading is coming just at the right time,” said Dr Klein-Kremer.
At the convention, the Ministry of Education’s National Supervisor of Special Education Services, Dr Leah Shaked, voiced her appreciation for KMKO’s contribution.
“I regularly visit the schools within the hospitals and I see the touch of Kadima Mada-Kav Or in every school. I want to thank you on behalf of the Ministry of Education and on behalf of the principals,” she said.
Kadima Mada Executive Director Rony Kalinsky paid tribute to the Kav Or charity, which was set up in 1993.
“We received an honourable heritage in the form of Kav Or’s exceptional network,” Mr Kalinsky said. “Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Morocco and Bulgaria have shown interest in the creation of a similar programme. This project is an example to the whole world and we will do our best to bring it to them.”