DUBAI // A pioneer in diabetes treatment in the Palestinian Territories is raising money in the Emirates this week to help open a network of clinics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Fund formally opened the Diabetes Institute last Friday in the West Bank town of Al Bireh, and plans to open branches in the West Bank towns of Nablus and Hebron, and in Gaza. The fund is hosting two balls - the Masquer-Aid for Palestine tonight in Dubai, and Hats Off to Palestine tomorrow in Abu Dhabi. The functions are the brainchild of Samar Ali, an American lawyer of Palestinian and Syrian heritage, now based in the UAE. Inclement weather conditions have caused the event scheduled for this evening in Dubai to be postponed until March 12. According to organisers, the Abu Dhabi event tomorrow will go ahead as planned.
"I feel that health care and education are at the heart of any society and if those things are broken, its hard to advance," Ms Ali said. "We really need to move forward with strong healthcare and education systems." Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the Palestinian Territories, according to Dr Subhi Ali, the chairman of the Jerusalem Fund. Left untreated, it can lead to blindness, kidney failure and amputation.
"Diabetes involves every organ of the body," said Dr Ali, who is Ms Ali's father. "We wanted to really help and make a difference." The Diabetes Institute has been receiving patients since last summer. Dr Eid Mustafa, the treasurer of the Jerusalem Fund, said the idea for the project stemmed from the need for specialised care across the West Bank and Gaza. The Jerusalem Fund - an independent, non-profit, Washington, DC-based organisation founded in 1977 - raised the initial funding for the Diabetes Institute primarily in the US, but is now looking to the Arab world.
Dr Mustafa said the fund is also planning to launch mobile clinics and train more experts to treat the disease. Details about the events are available at thejerusalemfund.org. email@example.com