Aug 7, 2018

A visit to Augusta Victoria Hospital

It has been more than ten years since I visited the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) on the Mount of Olives. While I was driving up the winding road that leads to the hospital, very little seemed to have changed. How would the hospital look? I recognize the tower of the Church of the Ascension – an iconic landmark.

Augusta Victoria Hospital

The more than 100-year-old walls hide the high-tech equipment and facilities of AVH. The hospital provides specialty care for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, and everywhere is under construction.

“Here we are building our ‘Health Garden’ – the new Dialysis Centre,” explains Walid Nammour, AVH’s CEO. “And here will be our new PET-CT scanner.”

Indeed, over the past ten years AVH has undergone a huge transformation inside and out on the Mount of Olives land.

Augusta Victoria Hospital

But the biggest project is yet to come, the Elder Care and Palliative Medicine Institute, a 144-bed facility.

Nammour is a visionary, who wants AVH to advance and to succeed. He is proud that AVH was accredited by the Joint Commission International, a US-based body that assesses hospitals and health care facilities worldwide.

“We have provided a long and outstanding service to Palestinians over decades,” explains Nammour. “AVH is the first and only hospital to provide radiation therapy for cancer patients in the Palestinian territories and the only medical facility in the West Bank offering pediatric kidney dialysis.”

In the AVH-corridors I see a plaque;

In Appreciation of The Government & People of Canada

For their Support in

Strengthening the Augusta Victoria Hospital

In cooperation with

Canadian Lutheran World Relief

Augusta Victoria Hospital

As Walid Nammour is speaking, my thoughts are wandering; and I am thinking of CLWR’s supporters and friends, who continue to share and support AVH’s vision. A vision “that the Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, especially refugees and others living in poverty, are empowered to: provide for the basic needs of their people; challenging policies that perpetuate injustice and suffering; build a just society united in diversity; and claim their rights to life and livelihood.”

“In Jerusalem we have been privileged to enjoy decades of accompaniment and support from Canadian Lutherans,” emphasizes Pauliina Parhiala, the head of the LWF Jerusalem Program.  “The prayers, gifts and advocacy support we received, have made a great difference. They allowed us not only to support the access of Palestinians to their health and educational rights, but they also helped us to work in crisis situations, deepen the quality of our work and grow our operations. We have received your trust and we work hard to be accountable to what you have given us.”

From 2013-2018, LWF Jerusalem has received $2,257,801 in funding from CLWR.

Karin Achtelstetter is the Executive Director for Canadian Lutheran World Relief