Health Work Committees | Palestine
Health Work Committees (HWC) was founded in 1985 by a group of volunteer doctors, nurses and other health workers from Palestine. HWC has now developed into one of the main health organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories. It has also run a health program in Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem since the 1990’s. TWHA supports HWC’s efforts to build and reinforce a network organizing young people in Jerusalem and mobilizing them for the right to health. The Youtube film, released in 2016, (click on the small image left) provides a good view on the work and the position of HWC in Palestine.
HWC offers primary and specialty care in 17 health centers throughout the West Bank. HWC also ensures basic health care through mobile clinics in remote villages. HWC strives towards accessible and quality health care and offers free treatment to the most deprived groups. To HWC, contact with the communities in which they operate is vital. Educational and cultural activities help raise awareness not only on health issues but also on the subject of rights.
In HWC’s view, health means more than just medical care and prevention. Fighting for the right to health also means that people must address social, economic and political factors determining health. This means stopping the brutal repression Palestinians are facing on a daily basis. TWHA endorses HWC’s strategic choice to operate in occupied Jerusalem and to keep doing so. The Palestinian Authority has no competence in the area as long the Israeli colonization of East Jerusalem continues. Palestinians are facing increasing pressure to leave their city.
The impact of occupation on children and young people is considerable in Jerusalem. Through school committees and volunteer groups in neighborhoods and universities, HWC raises awareness and organizes young people so they can improve their situation and defend their rights: the right to health, education, a future. The work of the youth also contributes to the community’s cohesion and the Palestinian peoples’ determination to stay in Jerusalem despite the discrimination, house demolitions, repression and all the social and economic problems that come with the occupation.
TWHA and HWC have been partners since the early 1990’s. In the beginning, TWHA mainly supported HWC’s school health program in Palestinian schools in Jerusalem which included a vaccination program, health education and school health committees. Since 2006 TWHA has been supporting the setup and consolidation of a broader network mobilizing young people in neighborhoods and universities for the right to health. HWC has built on the foundation of its positive experiences with children and youth in the school committees of the Nidal Center, a community center HWC established in the Old Town in 1999.