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  • Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University

    Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University

    Azrieli Faculty Medical Students Participate in Nationwide Volunteering Initiative

    Date: 2020-03-25 Hour: 13:42

    Israeli hospitals and universities, including Bar-Ilan University, have joined forces to build a student volunteer base to expand and improve the detection of people infected with novel coronavirus throughout Israel and assist overburdened hospitals process coronavirus tests in laboratories.

    The medical student initiative was launched by researchers and doctors at Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Hadassah Medical Center and Shamir Medical Center, together with the co-chairs of the Medical Students Association, which represents medical students at Israel's five universities.

    The volunteer base aims to increase Israel's capacity to conduct tests and produce critical coronavirus infection results more quickly. Accordingly, over 1,000 medical student volunteers from all over the country are helping Magen David Adom, Israel's National Pre-Hospital Medical and Blood Emergency Services Organization (MDA), collect test samples from people in communities across the country.

    George Naser and Wiaam Khatib, medical students at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, are among the participants in this nationwide effort. Both are in their second year of study in the Faculty's three-year track for transfer students from medical schools abroad.

    Naser learned of the initiative from a friend working at the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, who told him they sorely needed help from people proficient in using the polymerase chain reaction test kits, which demands special skill.

    “I contacted the lab and said I would be happy to help,” Naser told Israel's daily newspaper Haaretz, adding that that the Azrieli Faculty is encouraging students to volunteer in the drive to halt the pandemic’s spread.

    Naser further told Haaretz that he began his stint as a volunteer by training other, less-skilled volunteers at the Magen David Adom emergency medical service in how to put on and use personal protection equipment against virus infection. Also a teacher, Naser trained his own students, who volunteered to administer swab tests to people identified by MDA, in their homes.  He has also learned the lab procedures for testing for coronavirus and is now analyzing samples at the Galilee Medical Center, one of several hospitals affiliated with the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.

    Similarly, Wiaam Khatib is volunteering at the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in Poriya, another hospital affiliated with the Azrieli Faculty, where she is working on coronavirus testing in the hospital's lab.  Both Khatib and Naser completed their first three years of medical school in Romania before returning to Israel to study at the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine.

    The doctoral student volunteer mission was initiated by Tel Aviv University, the Technion, Hebrew University, Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University and many medical centers, including Sheba, Shamir, Hadassah, Soroka, Wolfson, and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Several HMOs are also taking part in the effort in full coordination with the Ministry of Health.