Aliyah (immigration) from Ethiopia to Israel and the transition to a sedentary lifestyle has resulted in the emergence of chronic diseases, in particular diabetes. While only 0.4% of the new immigrants were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes upon arrival, by the time they had lived in Israel for ten years the figure had risen to 18% - three times as many as in the general population. The incidence of hypertension, obesity, asthma and Type 1 diabetes had also increased dramatically.
Tene Briut was founded in 1999 by Dr. Anat Jaffe, Head of the Endocrinology Unit at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center. Her experience with Ethiopian patients made her realize that medical treatment could not succeed without culturally competent communication. Tene Briut has developed into a small but dedicated NGO, delivering services throughout Israel with the backing and cooperation of a wide range of local and national bodies, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Immigration, the absorption services, municipalities, the HMOs and hospitals.
Today the Tene Briut team comprises eight Ethiopian-Israeli healthcare professionals, three Amharic-speaking medical interpreters and four health promotion specialists familiar with the Ethiopian immigrant community. Organizations within Israel and beyond now look to Tene Briut's programs for inspiration in their efforts to develop meaningful prevention strategies for improving the health of immigrants and minority communities.