Palestinian territories: Jamal Mustafa Abu Salim, medical doctor

Jamal Mustafa Abu Salim, medical doctor in the Palestinian territories

The village of Jiftlik is located on the West Bank near Jericho. On behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, GIZ built and equipped an outpatient clinic to treat the 6,000 inhabitants and people from the surrounding villages. Since 2013 it sees around 100 patients each day. The clinic team is responsible for basic healthcare and for treating children and expectant mothers. Dr Jamal Mustafa Abu Salim is in charge of the clinic.

What would you say is typical of Jiftlik?

In geographical terms, Jiftlik is the longest village in Palestine. It is actually a fertile stretch of land with a lot of date palm crops and livestock farming. But we have water shortage issues here and an unreliable power supply. More than 70 percent of the population is poor. But I love Jiftlik.

What does it mean for you to work in Jiftlik?

I come from this region and always wanted to work here and help my people. As a doctor, I see it as my duty. The next city is at least half an hour away by car and there are no other health clinics round here. I consider it a great achievement that we can now provide the villagers with better medical care.

What was the situation like before the outpatient clinic was built?

Before it was built, we worked in containers – without any air conditioning or a constant power supply. We had difficulty keeping the medicines and vaccines cool and had to take them back to Jericho every day. That meant we could only work for a few hours a day at irregular intervals.

What has changed?

Since the clinic opened, we are now on hand seven hours a day for our patients. We provide general medical care and vaccines. We have an ultrasound, a laboratory and a pharmacy. Our speciality is a health programme for mothers and children. Before medical care here was very poor. Now more and more villagers are coming to us.

Where is there room for improvement?

My goal is to keep the clinic open round the clock. Furthermore, we urgently need an ambulance to transport serious emergencies to the closest city.


        
    
Opened in 2013, the clinic in Jiftlik treats patients from the entire Jordan Valley from 8 am to 4 pm.

        
    
Dr Jamal Abu Salim is the chief consultant. He studied medicine at Moscow’s Stavropol University before returning home to Palestine.

        
    
All of the examination results are recorded in the maternity booklet: weight, size and blood parameters.

        
    
The doctor offers mother-and-child consultation hours every Wednesday. The girl has come for a routine examination.

        
    
Dr Salim examines the little girl in his consulting room.

        
    
The girl's size and weight have developed normally. Dr Salim records the examination findings in the patient's records and the clinic logbook.

        
    
The laboratory in Jiftlik can carry out all the blood tests. Here we see Dr Salim working with the laboratory assistant.

        
    
Ultrasound examination: This woman is four months into her second pregnancy.

        
    
Stethoscope, ultrasound gel and patient files are the most important medical implements at the clinic in Jiftlik.

        
    
A patient complains of severe abdominal pains and phones the clinic: Dr Salim advises her to come round straight away.

        
    
That’s all part of clinic life here too: an open door and talks with patients are a visible sign of the culture of hospitality towards the people in Jiftlik.