Shaare Zedek Medical Centre celebrated the opening of its cutting edge new children’s facilities last week. British support has been crucial to the project, with over 3 million pounds raised for what the hospital’s Director General Professor Jonathan Halevy calls “one of the most ambitious development projects in the hospital’s 113 year history.”

The eight storey ‘Next Generation Building’ represents a unique approach to every aspect of maternity, infant and child medical care. Housing all paediatric, maternity and neonatal services including the busiest maternity and neonatal units in the western world, it provides the most comprehensive medical care available to women and children under one roof.

Shaare Zedek was one of the first hospitals in Israel to recognise the need for specialist paediatric medical facilities. The new building incorporates Shaare Zedek’s approach to personalised holistic care with a design that best limits the emotional trauma associated with hospitalisation and ensures that patients can be closely supported by family members. Every detail has been designed with the needs of the children in mind. The building is colourful, playfully decorated and full of play areas and family space. The medical services are complemented by comprehensive educational facilities and holistic treatments including art, music and pet therapy and support from medical clowns.

Shaare Zedek UK has raised funds for the Next Generation building project since 2007. Many of the hospitals’ prestigious departments and Centres of Excellence bear the names of British donors:

The Lincoln David Abraham Paediatric Educational Institute is home to all the children’s educational activities including the school and complementary art, music and pet therapy programmes. The Institute was generously donated by Helen Abraham in memory of her son Lincoln who was killed in the boxing day Tsunami in 2004.

The Vivienne Wohl Department of Paediatric Surgery is truly unique, with dedicated paediatric operating theatres designed around the specific needs of children during surgery. The department together with the The Maurice Wohl Surgical Complex was the last project Maurice Wohl personally approved before his death. Each operating theatre is connected to an elaborately engineered computer network that maximizes the surgeons’ control over the procedures and also allows the operations to be observed by physicians outside the theatre or even elsewhere in the world via the Internet.

The Kennedy Leigh Family Centre For Paediatric Kidney Diseases treats from as far away as Dimona and the Negev. Most suffer from chronic renal failure and are waiting for transplants. They require dialysis between 3 and 6 times each week, making the department their second home. Since more than 50% of the patients are from the Arab sector, many friendships formed cut across religious and ethnic divides, making the department a flagship for coexistence and understanding. The department made headlines in 2002 when the kidneys of Glaswegian terror victim Yoni Jesner were transplanted to seven year Palestinian old Yasmin Abu Ramila, a Shaare Zedek paediatric dialysis patient.

The Juliet Keidan Institute of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition has become an international leader in its field. The prevalence of serious digestive disorders within the Jewish and Arab communities has led to rapid expansion of paediatric gastroenterological services, research and groundbreaking new procedures. The department houses The Anne and Joe Turner Pediatric IBD Center which hosts regular workshops to support children coping with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Practical sessions teach the children and their families cooking- led by Israel’s top chefs-whilst social and emotional needs are addressed in confidence building and team building exercises.

One of the first departments to open in the new building was the new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It is the largest in Israel and amongst the largest in the world, caring for up to 70 babies at any time. UK supporters have provide the NICU with a 6 crib area, a 4 crib area, a nurse’s station, a family room, and 8 giraffe state-of-the-art giraffe incubators for the treatment of babies who need the most intensive care.

Shaare Zedek UK Executive Director, Simi Ben Hur said “There is a strong British throughout Shaare Zedek. British donors have supported the hospital for nearly 80 years, raising over £29 million in the last 10 years alone, and have created the ideal environment for scientific innovation combined with compassionate care to flourish. The opening of the Next Generation Building is a highlight in our history. Shaare Zedek UK is immensely proud of the strong British contribution to the most advanced women & children’s health facility in Jerusalem. From major donors to school and synagogue fundraising, this has been a truly communal project to ensure the health of the next generation is safe in Shaare Zedek’s hands. Thank you to everyone who has helped make our vision a reality”