Urgent resources needed for East Jerusalem hospitals facing spread of coronavirus

4/17/2020 12:00:00 AM

​CHICAGO — Facing an increase of coronavirus cases in East Jerusalem, Augusta Victoria Hospital and other East Jerusalem health systems are in critical need of financial resources to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Augusta Victoria Hospital is owned and operated by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and several other member churches of the LWF. Located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the hospital provides lifesaving health care to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

In an April 3 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Green, the LWF, together with other NGOs, urged the U.S. government to "restart critical humanitarian and development programs immediately in the West Bank and Gaza."

"In order to slow the expansion of COVID-19 globally, we must do more to address populations who are most vulnerable to its spread," the letter states.

Augusta Victoria Hospital and other East Jerusalem hospitals are facing a chronic financial crisis due to cuts in U.S. humanitarian aid in 2017 and 2018 totaling $50 million.

The ELCA, through its Global Mission COVID-19 response, has contributed funding from Lutheran Disaster Response to the appeal from Augusta Victoria Hospital to help build up its capacity to perform triage for incoming patients from Gaza and the West Bank, as well as to be prepared to test and treat COVID-19 patients should the need arise. This support enables the hospital to procure hand sanitizer, N95 masks, gowns, gloves and other necessary medical supplies.

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About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with nearly 3.5 million members in more than 9,100 worshiping communities across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands.," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder


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