Augusta-Victoria Hospital delegation visits US Capitol

18 Jul 2023

Contributions to the hospital need to meet the increasing number of patients. A delegation from LWF Jerusalem visited Washington D.C at the end of June, to advocate for continued US support to AVH and other hospitals in East Jerusalem.

AVH representatives visit US

LWF Jerusalem Country Representative Sieglinde Weinbrenner (left) and Dr. Fadi Atrash, CEO of AVH (right) with Representative James P. “Jim” McGovern. Photo: LWF/ D. Frado 

Delegation from Augusta Victoria Hospital meets US senators and staffers 

(LWI) - Augusta-Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem needs continued support. The hospital, that offers oncology treatments and dialysis, has tripled the number of patients treated in the past ten years but needs continued support to provide specialized health care for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.  

Following the visit of US President Joe Biden at AVH in July 2022, Dr. Fadi Atrash, CEO of AVH, Sieglinde Weinbrenner, LWF Jerusalem Representative, and Dennis Frado, retired employee and henceforth consultant with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, met with key decision makers in the US House of Representatives and their counterparts in the US Senate, to advocate for continued support to the hospital. 

Stated commitment to support 

In February 2022, the LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr. Anne Burghardt on her visit with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, also met with US government officials. The delegation from Jerusalem built on that visit.  

“We are pleased that there is a stated commitment to continue supporting the East Jerusalem Hospital Network in the Financial Year 2023 State Department Foreign Operations bill, and we have discussed the need for additional debt relief to the AVH with key USAID staff", said Sieglinde Weinbrenner, LWF Jerusalem Representative. 

The cash flow situation at the hospital remains difficult, says Dr. Fadi Atrash, CEO of AVH, given the large outstanding payments from the Palestinian Authority to the hospital. “We still have to limit the numbers of patients we accept, and we avoid starting expensive chemotherapy treatments, as we do not have the cash to pay for the necessary medication”, he explains.

The volume of patients treated annually at AVH has tripled compared to 10 years ago.
– Dr Fadi ATRASH, CEO of AVH

Treatments become more expensive 

Without a substantial payment from the US later this summer, and the EU later in the autumn, as well as regular, monthly payments from the Palestinian Authority, AVH will be forced to make further cuts to the services offered to patients.  

“While we are immensely grateful for the support of the United States,  we need the annual contributions from both the EU and the US to be proportional to the increasing volume of patients and costs of treatments”, Dr. Fadi Atrash adds. ”The volume of patients treated annually at AVH has tripled compared to 10 years ago.” 

Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives provides specialized oncology and nephrology care to patients from the West Bank and Gaza. Its work is possible because of the support of many partners, one of the largest contributors being the US government.

LWF/C. Kästner-Meyer