Health Promotion and the Environment

Meet Ilan Fathi, Director of the Department of Health Promotion and the Environment.



Department of Health Promotion and the Environment

Significant health disparities exist between the Bedouin Arab and Jewish populations in Israel. The infant mortality rate is approximately six times higher among the Arab Bedouin of the Negev than among any other population in Israel: 13.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010, compared to 4.1 per 1,000 in the Israeli population-at-large in the Negev. The main causes of death of Arab Bedouin infants are birth defects and hereditary diseases (approximately 42.9% of infant deaths); pre-maturity and respiratory distress syndromes (31.4%) and “death from other causes” (25.7%, including SIDS, infections, accidents).


The reasons for such dramatic disparities are complex and diverse, including lack of awareness and knowledge about the importance and nature of effective prenatal care, lack of access to prenatal care and cultural barriers. Moreover, there is little, if any, infrastructure in the unrecognized Bedouin villages. The lack of running water, electricity and access roads endangers the lives and well-being of the more than 50,000 children living in these villages. Lack of electricity and the consequent absence of adequate refrigeration endanger children, especially those in need of medicines and electronic medical equipment. Ambulances do not reach these villages which results in needless deaths. Lack of safe play areas results too often in tragedy.


Departmental Programs: 


  • Solar power for sick children
  • Emergency medical services: ambulance, paramedic courses, and first aid classes
  • Women’s Health Ambassadors: health and safety promotion
  • Breast cancer outreach and awareness
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Imams Forum and Hotline: provides a direct line of connection between Muslim religious leaders of the Negev with doctors and medical professionals at the Soroka University Medical Center
  • Salam Tek (“To your health!”): Arabic language health promotion website
  • AJEEC on Wheels: fully equipped bus that provides health and childhood development and education opportunities to children in unrecognized Bedouin villages of the Negev
  • High school health ambassadors


Educational Kits:


For use by medical professionals and community health activists, these kits are in Arabic and Hebrew and were designed specifically for a Bedouin audience.


  • What to expect at a doctor’s visit (available for download)
  • Understanding genetics and genetic testing
  • Breast health and breast cancer (available for download)
  • The importance of folic acid


What to expect at a doctor’s visit 

AJEEC-NISPED, Educational Kit, Arab Bedouin, women's health, what to expect at a doctor's visit, Soroka, Clalit, Negev


Breast health and breast cancer, sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Foundation


AJEEC-NISPED, Arab Bedouin, Negev, women's health, breast health, breast cancer, Susan G. Komen Foundation


For more information about our programs and how we are addressing these vital areas, please click below.






News of Note


Departmental Newsletter (January 2014): Meet the team and learn about our important projects to promote health and environmental education among the Arab Bedouin community of Israel’s Negev.  Click here


AJEEC-NISPED, Department of Health


New Website (December 2014): Salam Tek, which means “To your health!” is our new Arabic language website to promote women’s health. 


AJEEC-NISPED, Salam Tek, Salam Tak, Department of Health, Ilan Fathi, Amny Alathamny



New Program (September 2014): Thanks to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we are expanding our work on breast cancer awareness in the Bedouin community of the Negev with a program starting this September. 


Susan G. Komen, Breast Cancer, Bedouin Women


 AJEEC on Wheels: Read our update here (August 2014)


AJEEC-NISPED, AJEEC on Wheels, Mofeed, Department of Health Promotion, Israel in Crisis, Arab Bedouin, Negev





 Bedouin Breast Cancer Awareness Conference:


On March 5, 2014, AJEEC-NISPED, the Clalit Health Fund, and the Soroka University Medical Center co-sponsored a conference on breast cancer awareness in the Bedouin community. Medical professionals and key stakeholders from around the Negev and Israel participated. Learn more here.  



Our Programs