The Heart of the Matter Project provides cardiac care to Palestinian children and outreach training to physicians from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Nearly half of all children treated by SACH come from the PA, with over 1,600 Palestinian children having undergone open-heart surgery since SACH’s founding.
The Heart of the Matter project is co-sponsored by the European Union’s Partnership for Peace program and USAID West Bank and Gaza program. SACH also receives significant support from The Israeli Ministry for Regional Cooperation spearheaded by former Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom and The Palestinian Ministry of Health (PMOH). The project aims to improve relations among Israelis and Palestinians by providing increased encounters between the two groups during joint activities and by working together towards improving pediatric care in the PA.
SACH is proud to report as of 2013 the organization received its first award from USAID and its forth award from the European Union's Partnership for Peace Program. These sponsorships enable SACH to achieve significant results through Heart of the Matter.
Since the beginning of the project SACH has:
• Examined over 6,000 Palestinian children at its weekly cardiology clinic organized out of Wolfson Medical Center
• Provided pediatric cardiac treatment to over 1,600 Palestinian children at the Wolfson Medical Center
• Provided in-depth post-graduate training in pediatric cardiac care for 18 Palestinian physicians and 3 Palestinian nurses;
• Coordinated joint medical activities between physicians from the PA, Israel and the International medical community. Such activities have included a seminar of the Israeli Society of Pediatric Cardiologists, seminar of the Israeli Society of Pediatric Critical Care and Israeli Society of Clinical Pediatrics and the seminar of Congenital and Adult Cardiac Surgery
• Conducted two surveys assessing:
- The effect of SACH activities on the attitudes and feelings of Palestinian and Israeli parents of children hospitalized in the Wolfson Medical Center during the program, towards the members of each other's communities;
- The level of cooperation and communication between Palestinian and Israeli physicians participating in the program.
SACH is also in the process of conducting its third survey examining the influence the Heart of the Matter program has on building mutual trust and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. The survey takes into account all children treated under Heart of the Matter for the past 15 years and includes face to face interviews with the Palestinian patients and their families.