Update on August Victoria Hospital Cash Flow Crisis

Take action now at the ELCA Action Center

August 2016

Over the last two years many members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have responded to a call to ask Congress to meet an urgent humanitarian need of the Palestinians by supporting Augusta Victoria Hospital and the other East Jerusalem hospitals.

The message from congressional staffers in 2015 and 2016 to the ELCA was clear: The voices of ELCA members are being heard on this issue and are making a difference!

Augusta Victoria Hospital update

Augusta Victoria Hospital 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 Hospital 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 hundreds of lives, both young and old, from communities across the Palestinian territories.

Augusta Victoria Hospital faces on-going cash-flow problems as a result of the inability of the Palestinian Authority to pay on a regular basis the fees of the cancer patients it refers to the hospital. However, the hospital received a substantial payment from the Palestinian Authority as a result of support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in July and it expects to receive another large payment made possible by the European Union in August.

Advocacy success

Thanks to all who have been engaged in advocacy for Augusta Victoria Hospital this year and last year! We are grateful that the Palestinian Authority (PA) receivables have been reduced and are hopeful that a system will soon be put in place for more regular PA payments in order to avoid these crisis situations.

In addition to the funds provided by USAID to reduce the Palestinian Authority’s receivables, the hospital has received vital development support from USAID in recent years (nearly $10 million in cancer-related machines, lab equipment and training), which has improved the cancer treatments available through Augusta Victoria Hospital for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Watch for an action alert with specific requests to Congress this fall regarding funding for Augusta Victoria Hospital and the other East Jerusalem hospitals. In the meantime, please thank your members of Congress for the U.S. support for the hospital and encourage them to visit AVH in Jerusalem to see the impact of the USAID funding. Ask that they contact the Rev. Mark Brown of the ELCA, the LWF representative in Jerusalem, to arrange a visit to the hospital (mark@lwfjerusalem.org).

Thank you for your continued engagement! Take action now at the ELCA Action Center