Israel opens health clinic for foreign workers in Tel Aviv

(JTA) — The Israeli Health Ministry has opened a clinic for refugees and foreign workers in southern Tel Aviv. 

The new clinic, which opened its doors on Thursday, cost approximately $900,000 to build and will be able to treat 100 patients a day, according to reports by Army Radio and Haaretz. The clinic includes a lab for urine and blood sample testing and other diagnostic tools such as electrocardiogram machines. Basic medicines will be distributed free, but patients will be required to pay a $3 admission fee.

Since May, 23 cases of HIV have been discovered in southern Tel Aviv, home to about 50,000 migrants, Haaretz reported. Most were sex workers and drug addicts. Ministry teams have begun a campaign to encourage testing, safe sex and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases among the sex workers, and clean-needle campaign among the addicts. In 2011, Israel’s Health Ministry had identified 5,249 HIV carriers in Israel. 

The new clinic will be manned by the Terem network for emergency medicine. The staff will be able to consult medical experts via tele-medicine services, according to Haaretz. 

“The reality is that we have tens of thousands of foreign workers here,” Ronny Gamzo, director of the Israeli Health Ministry, told Israel Radio. “Left untreated, their situation deteriorates until they require emergency medicine in hospitals. This is not smart and strains our health system.”

According to the Israeli government, about 60,000 Africans have illegally entered Israel since 2005, most of them from Eritrea and Sudan.

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