Tim and I spent Monday with the leadership, staff and patients at the Augusta Victoria Hospital (pictured above) on the Mount of Olives here in Jerusalem.
The Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital (or AVH as it is known here) has a more than 65 year history of serving the Palestinian people, a Christian hospital serving all people of all faiths. That vision along with high quality health care has only been strengthened in recent years. AVH is the first and only hospital to provide radiation therapy for cancer patients in the Palestinian territories and is the only medical facility in the West Bank offering pediatric kidney dialysis, making it distinct among the few hospitals which serve the millions of Palestinian people in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. More on AVH here.
Continuing that vision is the hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer, Walid Nammour, who we interviewed and accompanied as he interacted with patients and staff around the hospital. Here he is with a toddler dialysis patient and his grandmother:
In addition to Nammour, we interviewed three patients: a young cancer patient, a young adult dialysis patient, and an older dialysis patient. All were high in their praise for the staff and care at AVH – through our Arabic translator we heard words like “family,” “caring,” and “high quality.” In recent years the hospital has begun to transport patients and their families by bus from Palestinian areas which have been nearly cut off by Israeli internal check points. All of those we spoke with have benefited from this transportation, although their travel from home to the hospital is still far from easy.
Here are photos of the patients we interviewed:
Our time at AVH ended with an interview with Mark Brown who has served as the Lutheran Federation’s Jerusalem representative for more than ten years. Here is Brown with Nammour:
Then we hurried off to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity evening prayer service at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Old City. In other areas of the world, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was celebrated last week, but in Jerusalem, because the Armenian Christians celebrated Christmas and Epiphany last week, this observance was postponed one week. Each evening there is a prayer service at one of the Christian churches in the Old City. Redeemer’s service on January 25th brought together an international congregation with parts of the service in English, German, Swedish, Danish and Finnish. The church was full and the music was wonderful. A link to Tim’s video from this service is here.
A very full day.
And, of course, we are still at it….