Rania al-Oqbi will receive her medical degree this year from Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, the first female Bedouin to do so from an Israeli university. Oqbi began studying medicine through the Medical Cadets program at BGU designed to help Bedouins study medicine. The Bedouins, the nomadic peoples of Israel’s southern Negev desert, make up only 15 percent of the population. More than 70 percent of the children hospitalized in Beersheba’s hospital are Bedouin and communication problems have led to misdiagnosis and incorrect prescriptions. The villages have had Jewish female doctors who have had great difficulty communicating with the people. Bedouin men prefer that female doctors examine their wives. Although, Oqbi has not selected her specialty, she is considering gynecology.
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