Inside AJHS: Australian Friends of Magen David Adom

Australian Friends of Magen David Adom

Christopher Nguyen, Intern - Charles Sturt University – School of Information & Communication Studies, Professional Placement Program

logo of Australian Friends of Magen David AdomThe Australian Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) was born in a spirit of altruism and volunteerism, not only to support the medical efforts in Israel alongside its parent organisation—the Magen David Adom (MDA)—but to promote general awareness of health, lifestyle, and life-saving education within Australia. Both organisations are extensive in their reach and generosity, with one of the key tenets of the MDA being the provision of health and life-saving services to all people in need.

The focus on one common humanity beyond race, religion and politics is a key reason that has rendered the MDA a significant organisation that has made a benevolent impact on many lives. Established in Israel in 1930, the historical context surrounding the creation of the MDA is one of notable hardship: under the then British Mandate state, the healthcare provided to Israelites was underwhelming in its accessibility and quality. The MDA sought to address these deficiencies by providing, first and foremost, a dedicated First Aid and emergency health service to Israelites in medical need. From there, its medical services have grown.

Following the post-World War II immigration of Jews worldwide, the MDA has been generously supported by its related organisations within individual countries. In particular, the AFMDA has supported the efforts of the MDA through monetary donations and the provision of medical equipment including medicycles (a form of motorcycle equipped with emergency medical gear, favoured by the MDA for its ease of use), proprietary software such as an ambulance simulator, as well as medicines and ongoing medical training.

The AFMDA maintains strong relations with its parent organisation, with its members regularly attending events that have taken place in Israel. The nature of such events includes celebrating the opening of medical facilities and buildings, especially those needed in rural areas within Israel. The AFMDA has also assisted in bringing innovative health projects to life: one notable example was providing advice on the construction and operation of a new blood bank, which was moreover made possible through monetary donations.

The operation of the MDA and AFMDA, and the delivery of its services are made possible only through the efforts of volunteers. Australian volunteers have travelled to Israel to lend their help in times of peace and war throughout the AFMDA’s existence. The volunteers within these organisations have made a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals served and the medical world at large; their hard work and cross-cultural teamwork have resulted in innovations and initiatives that continue to save and preserve all life. 

The information obtained from the minutes of executive and AGM minutes, newsletters and marketing publications of the AFMDA offered key insights into its administrative history. Moreover, I found that the information was well-documented; its conciseness reflected an efficient operation and helped me to understand the organisation’s objectives in a thorough manner. Meanwhile, the materials in the photographic collection showcased a more personalised side of the individuals involved in the organisation. These materials – AJHS record ID 444533 – will, I hope, benefit anyone interested in learning about the AFMDA and its history, as it was for me.

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