(LWI) - Members of the international advisory board of the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem have affirmed their strong confidence in the management of the facility under the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer Dr Fadi Atrash.
Speaking on behalf of board members, the two co-chairs, Ms Gunvor Kronman of Finland and Dr Ola Awad of Palestine, said the board “applauds the overall achievements of the Augusta Victoria Hospital and its highly dedicated and competent staff”. They noted the management’s tireless efforts to uphold “what is effectively a world class institution”, providing life-saving, holistic cancer care and kidney treatments to the Palestinian population in the midst of a challenging financial situation.
Launched in 2020, the board has been mandated by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) to provide overall strategic and professional support to the hospital and its management. In addition to representatives from Palestine and staff of LWF and AVH, members from other countries, including Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United States, convened from 21 to 22 June at the Mount of Olives campus.
A world-class institution operating at reduced capacity
The financial situation of AVH and other East Jerusalem hospitals has been aggravated by a delay in the 2021 annual financial support from the European Union (EU) for the Palestinian Authority (PA). For AVH, this has led to a halt in the intake of all new patients since September 2021.
CEO Dr Atrash confirmed that at least 500 people referred to AVH with cancer diagnoses have been unable to access care and treatments, and that the hospital continues to operate at reduced capacity due to lack of cash to pay for medication and other supplies. While the PA will be able to use the EU funding to settle parts of their bills, the size of the outstanding receivables continues to be very high.
The AVH board members discussed the current socio-economic, demographic and political context in which the hospital operates, and the state of the Palestinian health care system. They also reviewed the hospital operations, challenges and future plans, and shared advice on advocacy, finance and quality management.