Hillel Yaffe was born in 1864 in the village of Ristovka, Ukraine. When he grew up, Yaffe was sent to study in the Gymnasia in the city of Radiansk and then moved to Geneva to study medicine. He completed his studies in 1899. Yaffe went on to specialize in ophthalmology in Paris due to the high incidence of trachoma in the Yishuv in Israel.
In 1891, Dr. Yaffe immigrated to Israel, then Palestine. In 1893, he was invited by Baron Rothschild's appointed authorities to serve as physician and director of a hospital in Zichron Yaacov, to treat the exceptionally large number of malaria patients in the communities of Hadera and Atlit.
One of the first malaria researchers in Israel, Dr. Yaffe used his influence to plant a eucalyptus forest in the swamps of Hadera to dry them out and began spraying the swamp lands with oil to prevent the incubation of the mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Dr. Yaffe also introduced systematic treatment with the drug quinine to prevent malaria.
In 1896, Yaffe moved his family to Jaffa after being appointed by Hovevei Zion as their representative in Eretz Israel.
From a hospital in Zichron Yacov to a medical center for the Galilee region
In 1904, Dr. Yaffe returned to work as a doctor in Zichron Yaacov, expanding and transforming the local hospital into a medical center for the Galilee region and a center to eradicate malaria. Dr. Yaffe also assisted the pioneers of the Second Aliyah who wandered about as workers in the Baron's communities. He initiated a mutual responsibility fund to fight disease and epidemics, laying the groundwork for the concept of establishing an HMO based on mutual assistance.
Dr. Yaffe wrote scientific papers on the fight to eradicate malaria, trachoma and particularly babesiosis and was invited to lecture at the Pasteur Institute in Paris as well as at various medical conferences in Europe. By the end of 1919, Dr. Yaffe moved from Zichron Yaacov to Haifa, where he continued to research malaria while also working as the school physician in the Reali School. During this period, he published 25 scientific papers, 11 of which focused on malaria and malaria eradication.
Dr. Hillel Yaffe died in 1936 without witnessing his dream – the establishment of the State of Israel. In his will, Dr. Yaffe asked to be buried in Zichron Yaacov.
The medical center in Hadera bears the name of this enterprising man, researcher, physician, Zionist and visionary.
A selection of Dr. Hillel Yaffe's articles and publications:
A Propos de la Fievre Hemoglobinurique en Palestine ,Bulletin de La socite De Pathologie Exotique, Vol. 7, 1914
Bodenkauf und Malaria, Volk und Land, Vol. 1, 1919
Contribution a la Pathogenie et a la Therepuetique des Fieveres Hemoglobinuriques, J.Egypt.Med Assoc.16, 1933
De la Fievre Hemoglobinurique en Palestine, Cong.Int.Med, Cairu, Vol. 4, Dec. 1928
Essai de Quinisation Preventive, Rev de Med. et a Hygiene, 1912
Injections Intraveineuses de Collobiase de Quinine, Revue de med. et. dhyg.trop XII, no.4, 1920
Le Paludisme en Palestine, V.Revue de med. et. dhyg.trop 1920, no.1, 1930
Proposals for Antimalaria Work in Palestine, Int.J.Public Health (Geneva), 2(5), 1921
Revue de Medecine et Dhygiene Tropicales, de L-Ecole-de-Medicine,vol 26, 1934
Revue Internationale Dhygiene Publique, Ligue des Societes de La croix-Rouge Geneve (Swisse), Vol.2, 1921
Traitement des Cashexies Paludeennes, Bulletin De La Societe De Pathologie Exotique, Vol. 7, 1914
Traitement Preventif des Fievres Hemoglobinuriques, Rev Med et d'Hyg Trop, 1912