Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) is operated by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Jerusalem. It started in partnership with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in 1948 as a major medical facility in Jerusalem to care for Palestinian refugees. Today, most of the patients served by the hospital continue to be in social need and are seeking life-saving specialized care.
Augusta Victoria is the first and only hospital to provide radiation therapy for cancer patients in the Palestinian territories and is the only medical facility in the West Bank offering pediatric kidney dialysis. On a daily basis, these and other specialty services touch countless lives, both young and old, from communities across the Palestinian territories.
The Palestinian Authority continued to refer patients to AVH in 2016 for cancer treatments and other treatments not available in Gaza or the West Bank. The hospital had serious cash-flow problems in 2016 as well as prior years due to delayed payments by the Palestinian Authority to cover the costs for the cancer patients it refers to the hospital. LWF, the hospital, and the hospital’s board, together with LWF member churches and related agencies, continued their advocacy work in 2016 addressing the cash-flow crisis.
The LWF Jerusalem Program is pleased to report that in early 2017 the United States released $25 million for Palestinian Authority debts to East Jerusalem hospitals, of which Augusta Victoria Hospital received more than $11 million, reducing by approximately 30 percent the amount of money owed to AVH by the Palestinian Authority for the treatment of Gaza and West Bank patients referred to AVH.
Many thanks to everyone who advocated in 2016 on behalf of the funding for Augusta Victoria Hospital and the East Jerusalem hospitals! Your efforts are much appreciated. The bipartisan support for the release of the U.S. funds was important and will be helpful in 2017 when the problem will most likely come up again.
Despite the U.S. payment and another from the European Union, the debt of the Palestinian Authority for health care in East Jerusalem remains unacceptably high. Therefore, the LWF will continue to encourage advocacy by friends and partners.
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