October 6, 2022
Professor Tony Cunningham from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research was a member of a delegation of Australian COVID-19 experts, which was led by Professor Sharon Lewin from the Doherty Institute, that visited Israel from 5-8 September 2022. Sponsored by AUSiMED, a not-for profit organisation that encourages exchanges and collaboration between Australia and Israel, the delegation met with officials and experts from the Ministry of Health, research institutions, hospital and primary care clinicians, and health maintenance organisations.
From visiting these organisations, the delegation gained insight into Israel’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as substantial benefits, including significant advances in knowledge needed for a pandemic response. Israel utilised an innovative and impressive approach to health data and established digital health infrastructure. There was also an impressive culture of emergency response amongst Israel’s people and institutions which has considerations for Australia whereby the rapid pandemic response might be applied to natural disasters and other emergencies.
Some relevant findings from the visit to Israel included the rapid development and local manufacture of technologies to aid medical care, as well as different models of care, such as home-based care, which are particularly relevant to Australian rural and remote populations.