There are some 100,000 French-speaking immigrants living in Israel. What do they do if they need extra help in navigating the health care system?
Santé Israël is here to help, with its Bikur Olim project. In French, it is written Bikour Olim.
Bikur Olim (a play on the phrase, Bikur Cholim, which means visiting the sick) is piloting in Jerusalem. Operating in cooperation with the Qualita organization that assists French-speaking immigrants in Israel, and with the generous support of the Pharmadom Foundation, the program seeks to help and accompany French-speaking immigrants to access their rights – in the health system, at the Municipality, at the National Insurance Institute, and other service providers.
In June we held 2 training sessions for program volunteers, one at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center and the other at our offices on Mount Zion. In the first meeting the volunteers met Estelle Rubenstein, Director of Social Services at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Estelle advised the volunteers on how they can accompany patients and families at the hospital, and how to help them access their rights without expressing their personal opinions. Aviva Yoselis, MPH, from the Shira Pransky Project, presented skills on effective three-way communication between a doctor, a volunteer and the patient.
The second session was led by our Cultural Competency Desk Director, Orna Shani. Orna concentrated on dilemmas that might arise as during the accompanying process, the role of the volunteer in a meeting vs. straight translation, and the different stages of accompanying a client.
They are now producing a flyer, and during and after the High Holiday season they’ll begin offering their services. Can’t wait to see the good they’re going to do.