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Sheba Medical Center Team Racing to Aid Victims and Contain Deadly Cholera Outbreak in Mozambique After Devastating Cyclone Idai

In the deadly wake of Cyclone Idai, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer is joining forces with IsraAID and international teams to address the humanitarian crisis. Utilizing an emergency response unit of selected doctors and medical experts, Sheba is helping establish field hospitals, set up disease treatment centers and treat survivors in the devastated region.

Cyclone Idai is regarded as the worst tropical storm to ever hit Southern Africa, submerging villages across three countries. The storm has claimed over 750 lives with many still missing and impacted almost two million people overall, according to U.N. estimates.

The elite unit of Sheba medical experts is a part of the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba. The team includes the Center’s Director, Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, tropical disease specialist Prof. Eli Schwartz, pediatric emergency department head nurse Orna Tzuria and midwifery expert Sigal Resheff.

“The destruction and loss of life is devastating. And now, Mozambique is left with a public health emergency and a huge number of displaced persons,” said Prof. Bar-On. “Waterborne diseases are the biggest danger. We are assessing the needs on a day-by-day basis and working hard to ensure that we are as effective as possible. Sheba is proud to be part of the humanitarian aid efforts here on the ground.”

The storm damaged the Beira hospital and left only one functioning operating room. A field hospital is being built on the hospital grounds, and Prof. Bar-On is serving as senior advisor for the emergency medical team at this location.

With new dangers presented by cholera outbreaks, Prof. Schwartz is serving as a senior member on the cholera treatment task force to help prevent the spread of the deadly disease and offer care to those affected. The team is additionally traveling to outlying areas to perform needs assessments.

As the medical lead for IsraAID, the Sheba Medical Center emergency team is coordinating with local government officials, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international teams to tackle some of the crucial aspects of medical aid and relief in Beira. Also part of the IsraAID delegation are two team leaders, two psychosocial workers and a water sanitation expert.

The Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response at Sheba Medical Center boasts highly experienced doctors and specialists who continue to lead the charge in preparing and responding to global humanitarian crises and emergencies. Sheba Medical Center has deployed humanitarian missions throughout Africa including to Zambia, Nigeria and Tanzania, as well as led life-saving humanitarian missions in Guatemala, Haiti and elsewhere. Humanitarian aid has been a part of Sheba Medical Center’s mission since its establishment in 1948.

About Sheba Medical Center

Born together with Israel in 1948, Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer is the largest and most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East. Sheba is the only medical center in Israel that combines an acute care hospital and a rehabilitation hospital on one campus, and it is at the forefront of medical treatments, patient care, research and education. As a university teaching hospital affiliated with the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel-Aviv University, it welcomes people from all over the world indiscriminately. To learn more, visit:

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