- Written by Arnie Voigt Arnie Voigt
- Published: 27 March 2014 27 March 2014
To all our Sabeel-Colorado trip friends:
On most of our Sabeel-Colorado trips we have visited Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem. Usually Mark Brown, the Lutheran World Federation representative in Jerusalem, or his assistant -- has explained how an institution of mercy has to function under conditions of occupation.
Caught under the grinding political realties, Augusta Victoria has not received payment for medical services she has performed. Help is needed to restore this funding lest the services be curtailed and greater suffering ensue.
So, now I am asking you to write/phone your elected officials in Washington and ask them to make this request of USAID. The situation at Augusta Victoria is explained below. Please google your senators and congresspersons to obtain the needed contact information.
- The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has run Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) for over 65 years. AVH provides life-saving care (specifically, providing oncology care not available elsewhere in Gaza or the West Bank). AVH is part of a consortium of East Jerusalem hospitals.
- A large percentage of AVH patients are referred to AVH by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA has not paid their bills to AVH in 14 months. The debt is now 25 million USD for AVH and nearly 40 million USD in total for the East Jerusalem and some West Bank hospitals. The debt is increasing 1.5 million USD each month for AVH. AVH bears the largest burden of this debt because of the expensive nature of the care.
- The PA has been unable to pay because some of the funding they receive from the Oslo agreement has been withheld to pressure them in the current peace negotiations.
- 200 million USD already has been appropriated by Congress to the PA and is now available for disbursement by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). We wish to request that 40-50 million USD of that amount be designated for humanitarian health care in East Jerusalem. This would help to cover the 25 million USD debt that AVH is now bearing.
- Our request is that elected officials make phone calls to USAID urging them to designate a portion of the 200 million USD for bills the PA has already incurred related to health care.
- In addition to the life-saving care provided by AVH, it also plays an important role in building Palestinian institutions and capacity for health care. The Hospital’s life-saving work also can help maintain a favorable atmosphere amongst Palestinians for a final status agreement between them and the Israelis.
Your follow up to what we experienced on our Sabeel trips is deeply appreciated.
Thank you, and blessings,
Arnie Voigt, arnievoigt AT msn DOT com