Isn’t it nice when someone gives you a helping hand? This helping hand becomes even more significant when talking about preventive health and home safety, where that help can save your life, or the lives of your loved ones.
According to the Israeli Task Force for Advancing Preventive Medicine, “Modern medicine has found solutions to many medical problems, but it has not found cures for most chronic illnesses. Advancing health in the population and preventing sickness are therefore an important part of medicine today.” The Beterem organization reported that in 2014, 40% of all child fatalities caused by accidents took place in the home.
Over the past few months the JICC has been developing Living Safer, Living Longer, a program to improve preventive health and home safety in all of Jerusalem’s populations. Based on the highly-successful Pa’amonim model of individual financial coaching and mentoring for home financial health, Living Safer, Living Longer seeks to provide individual mentoring, classes and workshops. Volunteer mentors will review standard checklists for major health measures such as vaccinations for children, tests for common chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardio-respiratory problems, and periodic blood tests and other procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Checklists for safety measures will include childproofing homes with small children, appliances, general repair, etc. Mentors will follow-up with families periodically, to track their progress, and offer assistance when necessary in installing safety measures.
Utilizing our knowledge and experience working with all Jerusalem’s populations – religious, secular, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish and Arab, we are developing sections of the program that are culturally sensitive and adapted to each segment of the population. And of course, we are drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the Ministry of Health, the Department for Public Health at the Jerusalem Municipality, the Beterem organization, all national HMO’s, well-baby clinics, and more.
An integral part of the program is developing a volunteer Lead Team, that will plan, develop, implement – and ultimately, sustain – the project within that community. Thus, while the ‘general’ sector Lead Team is working citywide, in the Haredi sector, we’ve decided to concentrate on the Ramot neighborhood. And in order to recruit members of the volunteer lead team, it was decided, together with community professionals who were very excited about the initiative, that we will present the project at a women’s health night that took place on July 26 at the Ramot Community Center. The evening include a lecture by a General Practitioner about the importance of preventive medicine, as well as a lecture by Chani Weinroth, a renowned author and lecturer who spoke about her journey in battling cancer, the signs she saw and ignored, and how she copes today. There were over 200 women who came to the evening, and of them, 10 were interested in joining the project, which is exactly the group-size we need to work with in this neighborhood. We’ll keep you posted!