Even 40 years after the occupation, Israel has failed to extend basic services to Arabs of East Jerusalem. A study recently published found that Arabs residing in the area receive lower quality of medical care compared to Jews.
The study conducted by Israeli scientists in four local hospitals found that Arabs who were recently diagnosed for diabetes received lower quality of care compared to Jewish patients. This difference was more contrasting among Arab women.
A group of patients, both Arabs and Jews, were compared for socio-demographic variables, health insurance and treatment prescribed for diabetes. The data revealed that Arab patients received less counselling about diet, a major tool for diabetes care. They were also given fewer recommendations and less support for performing physical activity which is required for controlling blood sugar level.
The study revealed that the Arab patients diagnosed with diabetes were younger, compared to Jewish patients. The study titled “Differences in Quality of Diabetes Care between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem” was published in the current issue of American Journal of Medical Quality.
The language differences between attending physicians and patients resulted in the difference of treatment offered. The researchers noted that Arab patients are more likely to be treated by non-Arabic speaking physicians while the likelihood of a Jewish patient being treated by a non-Hebrew speaking physician is very slim.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israel War. Several studies in the past have shown that Arab citizens of Israel are socially, educationally and economically way behind Jewish citizens there.
In 2007 a study conducted by Arab Centre for Alternative Planning found that Human Development Index of Arabs in Israel was 44 slots lower than general ranking of Israel. The study calculated that GDP per capita for Arabs in Israel was one third of that of Jews.
[The writer is Editor of news website TwoCircles.net]