Ethiopian Program

Herzog Hospital Geriatric Caregiver Training Program

for Ethiopian and Bnei Menashe Women

Twenty Ethiopian and Bnei Menashe women from all over Israel, graduated from Herzog Hospital’s 12th Geriatric Caregiver Training program, in October 2011. They completed 300 hours of course work and 280 hours of practical experience, working in various Hospital departments. This work included assisting nursing staff in caring for patients, under supervision, as they rotated through the Departments of Physical Rehabilitation, Occupational Therapy, Acute Geriatric Care, Complex Nursing, Chronic Respiratory Care and Psychogeriatrics.

They now have the basic knowledge needed in order to help them understand medical conditions that our geriatric patients can suffer from and how they can best help them. They  have also been taught the basics of how to assist a patient, such as how to lift them from the bed to a wheelchair, to assist with activities of daily living (ADLs), possible eating difficulties, and any other patient symptoms and needs that they should  be familiar with. The program was enriched with courses in alternative treatment methods including reflexology and shiatsu. All of the courses and training were provided by hospital staff.

During the course, the women were provided with breakfast and lunch, which in many cases, were the main meals the women ate during the day, due to their difficult economic situation. As regular employees of the Hospital, they still receive both meals.

While students, the women did not pay any tuition, and in addition, the hospital gave each student a monthly stipend for the duration of the training program.

This was the 12th graduating class of the special Herzog Hospital training program, initiated in January 2004.  This brings the total number of women who have graduated from the program to 200. Today, 70 graduates are currently working at Herzog Hospital, with the balance working at other health care facilities throughout Israel.

This success rate adds to the sense of confidence of current students, which reinforces their motivation to work hard and strive to achieve their maximum potential. The reputation of the success that the program has in the Ethiopian and Bnei Menashe communities has also served as a recruiting catalyst. Initially we needed to look for students. Now we have a waiting list of individuals seeking to register for the program.

The Hospital has started its 13th course in November 2011 to meet the growing demand. The program has now been expanded to include men, as well as women.


The project has been featured onIsrael’s Channel One television station.  A fifteen-minute story was broadcast on the station’s Amharic educational program (with Hebrew subtitles). The report  followed women as they cared for patients, interviewed women who have graduated, including one woman who previously worked cleaning apartments, and talked about the success of the program.

The Ethiopian and Bnei Menashe Geriatric Caregiver Training program is funded primarily  by donations and from HerzogHospital’s budget. Future courses are contingent upon obtaining funds to finance the program.