28 years after its founding, Mayanei Hayeshua Hospital has expanded its pediatric department to better serve the rapidly growing population of children in Bnei Brak.
The changes were spearheaded by Professor Eli Somekh, a seasoned paediatrician with many years of experience and an intimate knowledge of the charedi sector.
Professor Somekh was drawn into medicine through his father, who was also a physician. He graduated Tel Aviv University in 1978, did his residency at Wolfson, and then spent three and a half years in additional training at a paediatric medical centre in Denver, Colorado. Upon his return, he joined the staff of Wolfson as a senior paediatrician and quickly climbed the ladder, managing a unit and then the entire children’s department.
“Paediatrics is now an inextricable part of who I am,” says Professor Somekh. “Most importantly, because of the direct connection with the kids. The reward is immediate: you see the children smiling, you see them healthy. Being a doctor in the children’s department is a sort of practice of hope; you build a very strong connection with the child and his parents. I still enjoy this direct connection in my work.”
Professor Somekh has served in many other roles in addition to his work at Wolfson. For four years, he was CEO of the Israel Association of Paediatric Medicine, an organisation comprising almost 3,000 doctors. He currently serves on the scientific council of the European Association of Paediatric Medicine, and he was selected by the Ministry of Health to serve on some very important committees. He is a member of the committee that determines recommendations for running Tipat Chalav, well-baby care services, in Israel. In 2013, when there was a polio scare, the Ministry of Health appointed him in charge of the Polio Committee. He also serves as deputy deacon at Tel Aviv University. “Baruch Hashem, I have a lot of work to do,” he says.
“The goal is to provide more medical services for what we call the ‘ultra-specialisations’—paediatric nephrology, paediatric pneumology, etc.—in order to provide the full range of responses to various needs. We want to reach a situation where most of children’s medical needs can be met here.”