Senior doctors are severely criticized by the Ministry of Health for addressing the recent epidemic of measles, saying he waits for months before taking measures, and then doing this on an unwanted, unorganized model and deploying inadequate human resources.
This has created confusion and even panic among the public, they added.
"Penny did not fall that was a significant event," an infectious disease expert said. "The ministry should understand in the summer that we were facing emergencies and we had to mobilize all the systems."
After more cases of measles in the summer caused fears of disease outbreak, he added, the ministry has suggested that people who travel abroad should be vaccinated.
>>Everything you need to know about the outbreak of measles that is fighting against Israel
Cowboys from the Kol Habriyut hotline said in 2017 they told General Director of Ministry Moshe Bar Siman Tov that they had received many calls to the measles but did not do anything with that information.
The ministry first admitted that it had a real problem only six months after the media began reporting the outbreak. The number of measles cases has started to increase significantly in March, and in August 250 cases were diagnosed, about eight times more than in 2017.
In addition, many patients with measles were detected on flights from and from Israel. But, as noted, the ministry has simply recommended that people break before flights to certain parts of Europe, where the outbreak began.
In October there were almost 700 known cases. The most significant elections were in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Betar Ilit, due to too high conditions and rates of vaccination of only 50 percent. Minor outbreaks occurred in the north and in the West Bank districts; there were dozens of cases in Tel Aviv.
Last month, a 18-month-old kid died in Jerusalem, the ultra-Orthodox district of Mea Shearim, due to illness – the first death of measles in 15 years. To date, there are more than 1,400 cases of measles, and doctors in hospitals in Jerusalem said they feared to lose control.
"This is a scandal," said a senior official of one of Israel's leading healthcare organizations on the behavior of the ministry. "We're lucky it's just measles, not some other disease."
The Ministry "made every possible mistake in crisis management and explaining it," he added. "What has happened in recent days is an attempt to cover this with working with the media to look like they're doing something, but the result was a panic."
The ministry's leadership from the outbreak significantly differed from its treatment of the pandemic epidemic in 2013-14. To be at the then general director prof. Ronny Gamz. To combat the distrust of the system between individual communities and the influence of the opponent of social media vaccination, he met personally with leaders of opinions in different communities, including rabines and imams. As a result, from August 2013 to January 2014, 980,000 children were vaccinated against polio, and the disease did not cause injury or death.
The difference in solving these two crises is "huge," one high doctor said. "The polio crisis is defined as an urgent case at an early stage, and the crisis is solved by mobilizing and cooperating among many players – doctors and experts, HMOs, local authorities and others."
"There is a key leadership issue here," added a person involved in solving several earlier health crises. "I do not think the person who runs the ministry today can respond to such an event."
"This is also a professional and communication crisis," he continued. "It requires a lot of knowledge and experience in both fields and requires active management … and the level of information far more detailed than what is today."
The crisis has also revealed the poor state of Israeli public health services and the unwillingness of an emergency. In 2012, this service used 1,227 nurses who gave vaccines and followed the epidemic by locating everyone exposed to a particular disease.
Today, however, the number has been reduced to 920, which leads to waiting for vaccination and monitoring visits. In addition, the tests became less thorough and less common.
Since the beginning of the outbreak of measles, these nurses are working 12 hours a day. This week, the ministry asked the students to help.
"All 920 nurses are now infected with measles, all routine activities are stopped," said Moriah Ashkenazi, an officer at the nursing syndicate. "The burden is so difficult for nurses fail to collect information and send reports to the Ministry of Health in real-time."
"We see families whose children have never been vaccinated," she added. "We must complete not only their spills but also other vaccinations, with all their explanations, records and instructions."
Ilana Cohen, who led the nursing union, said the epidemic showed a neglected public health service. "There was no correspondence between the number of residents and the number of nurses," she said. "In public health we have at least 140 care positions."
The problem is compounded by the fact that none of the ministry officials directly communicated with the public or gave media interviews to explain the situation. The waiting times at Kol Habriyut hotline are 10 minutes or more.
Parents said they feel pressured, confused and angry. They feel lacking information to resolve the crisis and complain about the lack of access to medical staff. It seems that online operators do not know much, they have added, and it is difficult to make meetings. Moreover, the Ministry's published recommendations are confusing.
For example, a mother from Herzla said she had been trying to call a local vaccine provider for three days to arrange an incentive for her son, but there was no answer.
And when Haaretz tried to schedule a meeting for a helper for an adult, they said that the next available term at the office of the municipal office in Tel Aviv was February 11.
Another problem is that the responsibility for vaccination is divided between several agencies – regional health offices, baby clinics, healthcare providers, HMOs and clinics – depending on the age and condition of the patient.
"The first thing to point out is confusion and ignorance of people who ask questions," said senior HMO official. "Even our hotline operators do not have all the answers."