Health Expert Jumana Odeh Earns AidEx Humanitarian Hero 2013 Award
The AidEx 2013 Humanitarian Hero award has been awarded to health expert Jumana Odeh, director and founder of the Palestinian Happy Child Center, an NGO in Ramallah that protects and promotes the well-being of children with intellectual disabilities.
The award is part of the annual humanitarian and aid AidEx event held this year in Brussels and seeks to honor the commitment of those working with the international community.
Dr. Odeh is a pediatrician, public health expert and director of the Palestinian Happy Child Centre. She chose not to go into private practice but rather to work for low wages at government hospitals in the West Bank, following this with seven years service as a hospital pediatrician at Augusta Victoria Hospital and then Makassed Hospital, which are the largest public hospitals in Jerusalem. Dr. Odeh next volunteered as a primary health pediatrician and project manager for the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, a well respected grassroots organization, which focused on the delivery of medical services to reach West Bank villages and communities.
She worked with UNICEF, participating in their national programming to improve the quality of medical care given to Palestinian children, following this with a series of consultancies with Western organizations, including Save the Children/USA, the Swiss Development Cooperation, the Australian Red Cross, OXFAM, the International Development Research Center/Canada, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP-UK) and Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC) – Jerusalem.
In 2000, Dr. Odeh joined the faculty of the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health at Al-Quds University as a lecturer, where she teaches to this day. In 2001, Dr. Odeh began a four-year consultancy as Senior Child Health Advisor with MARAM, a public health project funded by Pricewaterhouse Coopers/USAid. In 2004, Dr. Odeh joined the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in London as a child care advisor.
Dr. Odeh has participated as an expert at more than 40 international workshops and conferences, and in numerous evidence-based studies of the psychological impact of military occupation on children and youth. She is a frequent writer for the International Herald Tribune and for the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, and has appeared as a child/health expert on Al-Jazeera, Abu Dhabi TV, CNN, BBC and Ted Koppel’s “Night Line.” She was also recently selected as 2008 honoree of the World of Children Health Award, the ”Children’s Nobel Prize”, becoming the first Arab to receive such an important award.