Minister for Regional Cooperation Visits New Children's Hospital

November 26, 2020

Highlighting new Middle East alliances, Minister for Regional Cooperation visited Save A Child’s Heart's facility at Wolfson Medical Center which treats children from across the region.

Minister of Regional Cooperation, Ofir Akunis, today visited the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon and the new Sylvan Adams Children's Hospital, a project supported by Save a Child's Heart.

Minister Akunis was accompanied by one of Save a Child's Heart’s main donors, philanthropist Sylvan Adams, as well as by Director of the Wolfson Medical Center, Dr. Anat Engel, together with Save a Child's Heart president Professor Arik Shechner, Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Dr. Lior Sasson, and Executive Director Simon Fisher, who told the minister that eight Irqai children were expected to arrive soon in Israel for life-saving heart operations funded by the Ministry of Regional Cooperation. "This is very good news and we hope it will open the door to cooperation with other countries,” he added.

The Ministry of Regional Cooperation has been supporting Save a Child’s Heart’s humanitarian work since 2010, and has since contributed to the rescue of more than 1,600 children with heart diseases and defects, from across the region, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza and the PA, Syria, Morocco, and South Sudan.

On his visit to the Center, Minister Akunis toured the Sylvan Adams Children's Hospital, which is currently under last stages of construction, and met children who were brought by a Save a Child’s Heart to the Wolfson Center from Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Romania, and the Palestinian Authority. Minister Akunis spoke with the children and their mothers, and also met doctors from Tanzania, Zambia, Ethiopia and the Palestinian Authority who are taking part in the association's training program in Israel.

The Minister of Regional Cooperation and Sylvan Adams greet a child from the Ivory Coast

Minister Akunis commented:

“We are in an era of a new Middle East, an era replete with new and significant opportunities for us. The historic peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are a first step towards normalization with the whole region. I thank Sylvan and Margaret Adams for their initiative, and long-standing partnership with the important activity that takes place here at the Wolfson Medical Center.”

He added, “Israel is committed to caring for children wherever they are, and to working for the good health of our children, the children of the whole world and the next generation. We want the children of the entire Middle East to live alongside us in health, peace and security. The Ministry of Regional Cooperation, under my leadership, will continue to support this wonderful project of "Save a Child's Heart," which represents the very essence of regional cooperation, and joint humanitarian endeavours for the highest purpose - preserving the sanctity of life.”

Director General of the Wolfson Medical Center, Dr. Anat Engel said, “The vision of the Wolfson Medical Center is of an international medical center, operation at the highest level, which provides medicine that adds value to patients, and this is truly inspiring. The task before us is to reshape the field of health in Israel and around the world. I thank Sylvan and Margaret Adams, ardent supporters of our humanitarian activities here at Wolfson Hospital, who have given us the opportunity to build the most advanced children's hospital in the Middle East. Together with Save a Child’s Heart, they are true partners, and we will work to bring excellence and innovative medicine, saving children's lives and improving their futures. We are working for a better world, and are full of hope that with the new dawn of the Abraham Accords, we will be able to pass on our knowledge and experience in the field of cardiology to many other populations.”

(L-R) SACH Executive Director, Simon Fisher, Sylvan Adams, Minister of Regional Cooperation, Ofir Akunis, Director General of the Wolfson Medical Center, Dr. Anat Engel, Dr. Stella Mongella, SACH trainee from Tanzania and children treated by Save a Child's Heart.

President of Save a Child's Heart, Professor Arik Schachner, added:

"Save a Child's Heart is deeply thankful to the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and to Sylvan Adams for their many years of support. We hope that thanks to this support, and in light of the new Middle East and the construction of the new children's hospital that with innovation and training Save a Child's Heart will be able to grow and work for the benefit of other countries in the region.”

Photo credit: Shlomi Yosef