“Members of the Natan team speak fluent or native Arabic, so no wonder why everyone wants to go there; there’s always a queue for medical treatment there,” according to a Facebook post from Info Park, which runs refugee information centers in Belgrade, Dimitrovgrad and Preševo.
In the wake of the massive stream of refugees into Europe from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other conflict areas, Natan administrators assessed needs in Serbia – the last stop before refugees continue on to European Union countries — and decided to establish the clinic on November 20 last year. Rotations of Israeli volunteers will continue at least until the next assessment in May, Natan COO Gal Yoffe tells ISRAEL21c.
“The number of patients varies, but there are always between 50 and 190 every day,” Yoffe says. “What they need also varies. At first it was mostly infections and viruses, then cold-related injuries such as hypothermia, frostbite, fractures and sprains from slipping on ice. We also provide treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiac or kidney disease. The most frequent patients are children and pregnant women.”
Funded mainly by donations from the Jewish Disaster Response Corps and the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Natan runs the only international clinic inside the registration camp. “It’s the most approachable one,” Yoffe says tactfully. “There’s also a Serbian clinic in the camp but it’s hidden between buildings and people don’t know it’s there and the treatment quality is not as good.”
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By: Abigail Klein Leichman/Israel21c