Medicine Crosses Borders: Rambam Doctor Travels to Qatar
A delegation of Israeli physicians, led by Dr. Ran Steinberg, Director of Pediatric Surgery at Rambam Health Care Campus, traveled to Qatar to participate in an international medical conference.
In the last few years, countries bordering the Persian Gulf have been more inclined to establish ties with Israel. Whether it be for business networking or participation in international sports events, Israelis are crossing international borders to take part in the region’s activities. Recently, the medical world has joined this growing list.
A group of nine Israeli physicians recently returned to Israel from Doha, Qatar, where they took part in a prestigious international conference for the World Federation of Pediatric Surgeons (WOFAPS). The conference, considered one of the most important in the field, convenes every two years and is attended by hundreds of physicians from around the world. The biennial event is a great opportunity for physicians from different countries, cultures, and perspectives to meet and share their knowledge and experience.
Leading the Israeli delegation were Dr. Ran Steinberg, Director of Pediatric Surgery at Rambam Health Care Campus and Chair of the Israeli Association of Pediatric Surgery, and Dr. Dragan Kravarusic, Director of Pediatric Surgery at Soroka University Medical Center. The other physicians in the group represented hospitals from all over the country.
“This is a major conference in our medical specialty, and it was important that we attend and represent the country and talk about what we are doing. In spite of the fact that, being Israelis, the locale wasn’t the most natural place for us to be, we insisted on showing up,” explained Dr. Steinberg.
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The Israeli delegation’s participation was made possible after a request by the Israeli Association of Pediatric Surgery to the president of the federation, Dr. David Lyle Sigalet, a Canadian physician who is Clinical Chief of Surgery at Sidra Medicine Hospital in Qatar. The Israeli association asked Dr. Sigalet to help them out when they arrived in Qatar. His successful efforts on their behalf at the Qatar Ministry of the Interior enabled them to receive the necessary visas.
“It was a fantastic experience,” recalls Dr. Steinberg. “Doha is very impressive – full of breathtaking skyscrapers, each one different from the next. Everything is very advanced and huge. However, you can’t ignore the fact that, alongside this pinnacle of modernization, life in the country is dictated by Sharia law. It’s awe-inspiring to see what the Qataris do! You just have to look at one place we visited, Sidra Medicine, a public women’s and children’s hospital that was built with the mind-boggling sum of 16 billion dollars! Even though it’s also for medical tourists, it’s first and foremost for the locals. Beyond my impressions as a normal tourist in that magnificent city, as a physician and as an Israeli, it was definitely exciting to be there, to be part of everything that was going on and to enjoy all that this opportunity had to offer.”
At the conference, Israeli doctors met their colleagues from all over the world, attended lectures and took part in symposiums on many topics. Most importantly, they made important connections. Dr. Steinberg noted, “This conference enabled us to understand global medicine and how it works – from third-world countries and their health and medical priorities, to Western countries with which we can share our knowledge as well as learn from them. We met with people we would never have had the opportunity to meet, even those in close proximity like our Jordanian, Egyptian, and Palestinian colleagues. I must point out that our requests for meetings were heartily welcomed, and all gatherings were cordial and friendly. I will maintain my contacts with a number of the doctors and, perhaps, collaborate with them on joint, regional projects in the future. This is what makes medicine so beautiful,” he concludes, “it bridges all the gaps: language, culture, faith, and politics. The concern is for people, wherever they are.”
In the picture: Dr. Ran Steinberg (on the left) and his Qatari colleague, Dr. Ali Mansour.
In the picture (R-L): Dr. Kravarusic, Dr. Assi, Professor David Lyle Sigalet, Dr. Elias, and Dr. Steinberg.
In the picture: Lobby of Sidra Medicine Hospital for Women and Children in Doha.