Palestinians collect for AVH
Palestinians from East Jerusalem donate 400k EUR for cancer medication
(LWI) - Following the news of a critical financial situation at the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), run by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinians contributed in a spontaneously organized collection to enable the hospital to buy medication for cancer patients. In two days, they have donated close to 400 thousand EUR. “This shows how much the Augusta Victoria Hospital matters to the people in the community. It is a clear statement of support from the Palestinian people during a critical time,” said the LWF Jerusalem Representative Sieglinde Weinbrenner.
Donations by school children and business owners
Following an announcement of the critical financial situation, hundreds of people came to the Mount of Olives to express their solidarity with the Augusta Victoria Hospital. “The news that Augusta Victoria Hospital is no longer able to buy vital medication for cancer patients spread like wildfire,” said Sieglinde Weinbrenner, the LWF Representative in Jerusalem.
Members of local communities, including an AVH nurse, took the initiative to organize a spontaneous collection. They received donations from individuals and private organizations to enable the hospital to buy medicine for cancer patients. “The response has been overwhelming and unprecedented. In one day, the hospital has received over 1.5 million Shekel (383,000 euros) and our staff are still counting incoming donations,” Weinbrenner added.
A young girl who was sad that her lunch money was too little had her hair cut and donated the proceeds to cancer treatment for children.
The money came from Palestinians in Jerusalem and beyond, school children, patients, business owners and daily laborers alike. “A young girl who was sad that her lunch money was too little had her hair cut and donated the proceeds to cancer treatment for children,” Weinbrenner said.
Palestinian Authority is main duty bearer
The LWF World Service Director Maria Immonen praised the initiative as a community taking action in times of crisis: “Seeing the community activism and heartfelt ownership of this hospital, which provides life-saving care to the most vulnerable in society, is as humbling as it is up-lifting. It is renewing our faith in our common humanity and responsibility to care for each other,” she said.
She added that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for resolving the situation. “The Palestinian Authority remains the key duty bearer, responsible for providing health care services to its citizens,” she emphasized, referring to the statement of the AVH board on 29 October.
In a public statement from the international Board of the AVH on 29 October 2019 the public was alerted to the non-payment of patient fees by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority currently owes the hospital more than 45 million euros. “This puts the hospital in an unsustainable position. The hospital is no longer able to purchase medicines or equipment which is needed to treat patients, and puts these children, women and men and their right to health services at risk,” the board statement reads.
The AVH expressed “its extreme concern about the current situation” and urged “the Palestinian Authority to pay half of its debt immediately in order to allow the hospital to maintain the quality care it provides to seriously ill patients, and stabilize the situation."
Augusta Victoria Hospital is a center of medical excellence in East Jerusalem, serving all 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It offers specialized care not available in other hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, including radiation therapy for cancer patients and pediatric hemodialysis. Augusta Victoria Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission International for its outstanding quality. Patients are referred to the AVH by the Palestinian Authority.