Cuts in Aid: Ahli Hospital and Princess Basma Center Struggle to Provide Services
This is what we know so far:
Since the announcement last week that the U.S. would roll back $200 million in aid pledged to assist Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and this week's news that the U.S. government will cut an additional $25 million in direct aid to support hospitals in Jerusalem, we've been speaking with our friends in the Diocese of Jerusalem about the impact on Ahli Hospital and Princess Basma Center.
Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City
Ahli Hospital’s ability to care for patients will be deeply impaired by the $200 million cut to U.S. contributions to UNRWA. This agency, which was formed in 1949 to specifically address the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees, has an agreement to provide Ahli Hospital $56,000 per month to support medical referrals. This has been reduced to a maximum of $14,000 each month - a 75% reduction in what had been a sustained source of funding.
Suhaila Tarazi, Director of Ahli Hospital, shared this with us on September 13, 2018:
“Currently Ahli is suffering from long hours of electricity outages, shortage of medical supplies, medicine as well as donor funds. Despite Ahli’s meager resources, we are able to reach more than 33,000 yearly of poor, marginalized and vulnerable patients.
However, with the decision of withholding the aid to UNRWA by the U.S. government, our financial situation has been dramatically affected and that will have a negative impact on the health and well-being of the refugees. These cuts put more burden on our already exhausted financial budget and reduce the number of ill beneficiaries to access quality health care at Ahli Hospital.”
Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children, East Jerusalem
The Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children in East Jerusalem is a member of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, which has been targeted for cuts in U.S. aid totaling $25 million.
For the Princess Basma Center, an internationally accredited therapy and rehabilitation center and inclusive K-12 school, these cuts in funding are compounded by the inability of other key funding sources to reimburse Princess Basma for services. The Ministry of Health, the Military Medical Services, and UNRWA combined have overdue balances to Princess Basma totaling $1.7 million.
The overdue balances coupled with the fresh cuts in U.S. aid threaten the ability of Princess Basma Center to provide continuity of medical care and rehabilitative services to children and families.
As many of you know, Princess Basma Center is a unique and progressive center that serves families and children throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank. It provides a residential early intervention program that trains mothers in caring for their children with disabilities. The Center offers the only comprehensive autism program available to Palestinian children in Palestine, Israel, and Jordan. It serves families in outlying villages with an extensive network of outreach programs.
All of these programs that are lifelines for children with disabilities and their families are at risk.
St. Luke’s Hospital, Nablus, West Bank
Another Diocese of Jerusalem hospital, St. Luke's, located in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, currently is not affected by these cuts in funding.
What can you do to help?
Suddenly - in the space of two weeks - two health care facilities that provide critical, humanitarian service to the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters in the most desperate conditions find their operations in serious jeopardy.
You can step in and help keep the doors open for all at Ahli Hospital or the Princess Basma Center (or both!).
Download and share this flyer/bulletin insert with your diocese or congregation to distribute in your Sunday service leaflets or newsletter.
Keep the staff of these institutions and all those they serve in your prayers.