Study: East Jerusalem faces gaps in child development monitoring
Only three percent of children in East Jerusalem are diagnosed with developmental disabilities
New research has revealed that Palestinian children in East Jerusalem face significant gaps in the diagnosis of developmental issues compared to the rest of Israel.
Sociologists at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research have identified three barriers that hinder the timely identification and diagnosis of developmental disabilities:
– Lack of staff in child health centers
– Negligence on the part of caregivers
– Logistical issues, including language barriers and transportation issues
According to Ha’aretzthese problems also hinder assistance to diagnosed children.
However, only 3% of children in East Jerusalem are diagnosed, compared to 10-15% in Israel as a whole.
“Even with the best of intentions…carers never meet to consult and find children who need help,” said sociologist Dganit Levi.
Most of the diagnostic and treatment services run by the HMO for Child Development are located in predominantly Jewish West Jerusalem, which adds to the difficulties, Ha’aretz reported.
“For a woman from East Jerusalem, it is not so easy to go to [west Jerusalem]said Dr. Sarit Bensimhon-Peleg, head of research at the Institute.
“Certainly not in times of [Arab-Jewish] tension and certainly if she does not speak Hebrew, and when there is fear and shame associated with the process.
The study further pointed out that most medical services in East Jerusalem often depend on doctors who are not licensed in Israel or have sufficient qualifications.
Levi and Bensimhon-Peleg suggested that all HMOs should work together to establish a single child development center in East Jerusalem, Ha’aretz reported.
An alternative, they mentioned, could be to organize intensive “diagnosis days” in the Palestinian area with teams from West Jerusalem.