Kupat Holim Clalit, who is also the largest Israeli Health Management Organization in East Jerusalem, was the first to join the Jerusalem Cultural Competence in Health Project of the Jerusalem Inter-Cultural Center and the Jerusalem Foundation. As part of the process two steering committees were formed to tackle cultural competence issues in East Jerusalem and in the Ethiopian community.
Today the first meeting of the steering committee focusing on East Jerusalem was held in the Sheikh Jerah Clalit HMO clinic. This is the central clinic in East Jerusalem serving around 200,000 people. The committee drafted a list of many challenges in this clinic and in other parts of the East Jerusalem health system. It was decided that the JICC staff, together with Clalit staff, would map the main cultural competency issues in the Sheikh Jerah clinic towards the next meeting. In parallel, we will examine some of the issues related to Arabic-speaking patients who are sent to experts in West Jerusalem, most of them are Hebrew-speaking Jews. Language was found to be an important barrier, but also other cultural barriers were identified as central to the quality of health care.
Next meeting of the committee will proceed with the planning of the cultural competence project in the Clalit HMO.