The Fourth Galilee Conference for Equality in Health 2018

 The Citizen's Forum for the Promotion of Health in the Galilee is composed of over 250 Jewish and Arab professionals and experts from various fields of health and social institutions. The Forum works on the development of equitable health services in the North through social and policy change. The Fourth Galilee Conference for Equality in Health was held by the Forum on the 22nd November 2018, in the Tuuran Community Centre, with the theme of the ‘Golden Age’, equality of the elderly citizens of the Galilee. Over 120 participants took part and included representatives from the local communities, hospitals and health centres, civil society, heads of local authorities and staff from the ministries of Social equality in Israel and the Ministry of Health and the national social security agency.

 By 2030, the percentage of adults and the elderly in the Galilee will rise significantly and place further strain on a health system that is already challenged. The conference’s rationale was to firstly explore the collapse of the public health system and its implications for the health of the Galilee population, and the elderly in particular and secondly to identify actions and models to be carried out both locally and regionally to ensure positive change towards 2030. 

 The conference used lectures, workshops, round-tables and panels to present and share information and develop practical solutions. A key focus was on what actions can be taken starting from 2019 to bring about change and a special discussion was held on the elderly Arab community. Proposed solutions to explore included:

-  improved pooling of resources and cooperation in the North;

- more effective management in the North through appointing a Regional Director to coordinate the hospital’s and Health organizations;

-  limitations on the number of patients per doctor;

-  improvements to the quality of service.

 Other topics discussed included the role of the local municipalities in health and aging and changing the attitudes towards the elderly held by both the community and the health sector.

 As a result of the conference Dr. Talia Kenar has been invited to present her talk: "From crisis to opportunity: how most patients can cure the health system" to the discussion held by the Joint Committee of Health and Economy led by Knesset Member Tali Ploskov. This Joint Committee is aiming to build a National Master Plan for Elderly and makes recommendations to the government’s Grotto Committee for the Expansion of Health Services in the North.

Recommendations that arose from Dr. Talia Kenar’s conference presentation included:

● Expanding the health services in the northern district while adapting to the cultural needs and social resources of various populations in the north.

* Developing and implementing advanced tools for optimal home care (e.g. remote medical applications),

 Developing tools for managing complex medical information and tools for improving treatment coordination.

 Research and develop models for optimal coping with medical complexity at home.

 A decision was also made for the Forum to host a round table on integrative and alternative health on the 17th December. The forum’s action plan will be developed based on the recommendations from the forum, with the final plan to be decided in the Annual General Meeting March 2019.

 The media response to the conference was strong with interviews on both Arabic and Hebrew radio and TV stations and newspaper articles, ensuring large numbers of the Israeli public are aware of this topic and the importance of addressing elderly health in the Galilee.