Augusta Victoria Hospital Cash-flow Crisis UPDATE
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
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.
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.
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
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
your members of Congress to support funding in 2017 that will sustain Augusta
Victoria Hospital and the other East Jerusalem hospitals in light of the
Palestinian Authority’s lack of payments.
As President Trump has invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to a meeting
at the White House on May 3, ask your members of Congress to raise the issue of
the funding for the East Jerusalem hospitals with President Trump and ask
that this issue be on the agenda of the Trump-Abbas meeting. Additional U.S. funding for the
East Jerusalem hospitals is relevant to the Abbas visit because budgetary and
humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian Authority will surely be a
topic. Ask President Trump to make a
U.S. pledge for substantial 2017 funding for Augusta Victoria Hospital and the
East Jerusalem hospitals and ask that President Trump encourage President Abbas
to ensure immediate payment and regular payments by the Palestinian Authority
to the East Jerusalem hospitals.
Ask your members of Congress to visit Augusta Victoria Hospital if they are
coming to Jerusalem in 2017 to see for themselves the development of the
hospital as a cancer center and what that means in the lives of so many West
Bank and Gaza Palestinians. Contact the Rev. Mark Brown, LWF Jerusalem Program
representative, at Mark@lwfjerusalem.org and +972-53-525-5843.
Reach your lawmakers at the ELCA Action Center! Contact
the Peace Not Walls team for additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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