Over the past few weeks we’ve gotten some great news – that 6 more occupational therapists who took our course passed the Ministry of Health certification exam, and several more were very close. As the results continue to come in, we thought we’d take stock over the past 4 years of the program. We’ve really come a long way:
- The program has increased the number of certified Arab paramedical professionals in East Jerusalem exponentially. Since it began in 2012, nearly 70 nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to pass their Israeli certification exams. This includes 37 nurses, 24 occupational therapists and 6 physical therapists. Beforehand, only 1-2 would pass each year in each discipline. It would have taken many years to achieve these results otherwise.
- The program has enabled us to more clearly map the situation of different paramedical professions in East Jerusalem, contributing to the knowledge of training in the Jerusalem area. As we developed courses for different disciplines, we have gained an in-depth knowledge of the state of diverse fields in East Jerusalem. This is the first time ever that any type of mapping has been done, and this information is now available for the first time to health care and educational institutions, as well as the Israel Ministry of Health.
- The program has raised awareness both among Palestinian institutes of higher education and health care institutions in East Jerusalem as well as Israeli Ministry of Health. When we began the program, there was little compliance and even less awareness about the need and benefits of having staff that have passed the certification exam in their fields. Today, all the major health care institutions in East Jerusalem, Palestinian universities, as well as Ministry of Health, better understand this need. We believe this understanding will lead to an improvement in health care in East Jerusalem.
- The program has opened a large window of opportunity for Arab women paramedical professionals to improve economic opportunities. After they pass their certification exams improves their access to employment rights, which includes an increase in pay and employment conditions.
- As a result of the program, the JICC has earned a prestigious reputation for offering high-quality courses. Since we began these courses, graduates of the physical therapy and occupational therapy courses have had high rates of success in passing the certification examinations. As a result of this success, graduates, and even expectant graduates, of the different Palestinian universities have requested to register for courses well in advance.
- Our reputation proceeds itself in expanding to new disciplines. As a result of the success of graduates of physical and occupational therapy, graduates of other paramedical professions – speech therapists and medical laboratory technicians – have requested we develop courses, which are now in various stages of development. Thus, we have expanded our offerings from two to six (also including physical therapy, speech therapy, medical laboratory technicians and medical Hebrew). We are also in regular contact with the medical faculty of Al-Quds University, ready to assist if needed.
We’ve just started a new course for physical therapists, and are developing courses for speech therapists and medical lab technicians. We’ll keep you posted on further updates.