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Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem
The Episcopal Church Diocese of Jerusalem, a partner with Global Ministries, extends over five countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, within the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. The church supports 33 institutions, which include hospitals, clinics, kindergartens and schools, vocational training programs, institutions for the deaf, the disabled and the elderly -- service programs that reach out to interfaith neighbors in mutual respect and cooperation.
One such program, the Al-Ahli Hospital, was established in 1882 by the Church of Mission Society (CMS) of England and is located in Gaza. It became a service ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem in 1982 and continues to provide important medical and surgical care to all people of the Gaza Strip. A majority of the Gaza’s residents live in refugee camps and a significant portion of the hospital’s care is charitable as they serve a community of exceptionally poor citizens. Al-Ahli has also responded to the needs of the victims of crises, including providing medical treatment to those affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Hospital offers out-patient and in-patient care, preventive medicine, rehabilitation programs, outreach clinics, and staff in-service training. The hospital has 80 beds though it does not currently have the resources to utilize all 80. The hospital offers services in general surgery, general medicine, gynecology/obstetrics, and pediatrics and also provides more specialized care, including orthopedics and urology. In addition to its hospital facility, Al-Ahli offers mobile clinics in villages in Gaza on a monthly basis.
Unemployment in the West Bank and Gaza stands near 50 percent and even those who have jobs are often subject to irregular paychecks and lowered salaries. The rapid economic decline has pushed a huge percentage of the population below the poverty line and Al-Ahli Hospital has subsequently experienced a severe financial crisis. Patients who used to be able to pay their fees for hospital treatment are often now unable to do so and the number of patients seeking treatment has continued to increase. Outpatient services have increased by 50 percent in just two years. Patients’ health conditions are compromised by limited access to electricity and clean water and by sewage contamination and trauma.
Funding is greatly needed to help the Al-Ahli Hospital continue to serve a community in need.