In honor of Rozana Ghannam, a four-year-old Palestinian girl saved by doctors at Hadassah Hospital last year, Project Rozana, an Australian initiative, was launched in Melbourne on May 24th. The project is a multi-faith collaboration between Hadassah Australia, Haddassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and Anglican Overseas Aid (AOA), with the goal of improving the healthcare of Palestinian children living in the West Bank and Gaza.
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Project Rozana is a multi-faceted venture with three distinct objectives, all to take place at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. These include the pediatric intensive care for Palestinian children with acute special medical needs, the training of Palestinian doctors from the West Bank and Gaza in specializations needed in their communities and the training of Palestinian mental health workers, specifically psychologists and trauma counselors. All proceeds will go towards funding these three programs.
Ron Finkel, the current President of Hadassah Australia, was the mastermind behind the endeavor. He explains that Project Rozana is the first of its kind, as it will “deal with the immediate health needs of Palestinian children while training Palestinian health workers who will return to the West Bank and Gaza to build the capacity of the Palestinian health care system for the future.” Finkel hopes to raise in excess of $500,000 per year for this project.
Jews and Arabs working together to save lives
The agreement has been endorsed by the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, the Australian government, Hadassah Hospital, and the Anglican Church of Australia collectively. Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier, says the Project will “bring together people of different faiths and cultures with one clear objective; making a real difference for Palestinian children.”
Rozana Ghannam fell from a 9th floor balcony at her home in a village near Ramallah last year. As her mom recalled: “I didn’t expect that Rozana was still alive. My poor baby was bleeding from [the] liver, spleen, lungs, bladder, and broken hip. I was shouting and weeping, asking anyone to help.” Rozana was rushed to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem at the insistence of her mother, where she underwent full treatment and recovery. “I wanted the best for my daughter and what Hadassah achieved for her is a miracle, a miracle of life, a Palestinian girl who returned to life at the hands of doctors – Jews and Arabs.”
In an email to Mr. Finkel regarding Project Rozana, Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. Hani Abdeeh wrote, “my hope is this spirit of human empathy, warm feeling and healing will take hold in our turbulent part of the world. Let us pray that the message will permeate through our different societal levels leading to more compassionate and fair solutions to meet the aspirations of all concerned.”