The IDF has won unprecedented recognition from the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) for its emergency medical work around the world.
The WHO awarded a “Type 3” rating to the IDF field hospital, the first group to ever receive it, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday. The decision was actually made last Friday but not made public until Sunday.
“We’re going to recommend the director-general verifies [Israel’s team] as a Type 1, Type 2, and also Type 3 and multiple different types of specialty cells,” Dr. Ian Norton, the head of the WHO classification system, said Wednesday at a ceremony in the Medical Corps’ base in Ramat Gan, outside Tel Aviv.
“We haven’t had that ever before,” Norton said, praising the months of work put in by the Israeli team to receive the designation.
Alluding to the U.N.’s notorious anti-Israel bias, the unit commander, Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, quipped that the representatives from the World Health Organization were “not biased, not one bit.”
The IDF field hospital is “not just some medics and doctors spread out in the field,” he explained, but a “national treasure” that has the capabilities of an advanced, permanent hospital but can be set up almost anywhere in under 12 hours.
Teams from the IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, an earthquake and tsunami in japan in 2011, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.
In a phone conversation with reporters on Sunday, Merin, who has personally invested “hundreds of hours” in the recognition process, described the international body’s formal recognition of their work as “emotional.”
“I wish I could sit here and say it’s a ‘Mazal tov’ for me, but it’s a ‘Mazal tov’ for the army, for Israel,” Merin said