Palestinian healthcare leaders discuss major problems facing East Jerusalem hospitals
Key issues facing hospitals in East Jerusalem were in focus as the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network (EJHN) held its third annual conference last week. Areas of focus included financial sustainability in Jerusalem, protection of Palestinian society in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem as a vital part of Palestine.
The conference was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EJHN as part of the EU-funded project "East Jerusalem Hospitals: Network for Quality". Participants included leaders from the local and international community, and staff from East Jerusalem hospitals, as well as from hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza. Hospital leaders highlighted a variety of topics including referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals and the financial situation within the Palestinian Authority, social issues within the Palestinian community in Jerusalem including drug utilization, access to secondary and tertiary health care services, and inclusive education models.
EU Representative John Gatt Rutter said: "The East Jerusalem Hospitals face endemic cash flow problems which put in jeopardy their operations. The EU was among the donors who responded in 2012 and 2013 with a generous contribution through its PEGASE direct financial support instrument. This mechanism is available free of charge to all other donors wanting to provide financial support to the East Jerusalem Hospitals. Our response reflects the great importance we place on the services provided by the East Jerusalem Hospitals to all Palestinian people, including from Gaza and the West Bank. The hospitals are an integral part of the Palestinian healthcare system providing specialized services that cannot be found elsewhere.”
The EJHN, including six facilities, was established in 1997 under the leadership and guidance of the late Feisal Husseini, with the aim of unifying the health facilities in East Jerusalem and emphasizing their critical role within the Palestinian health system. Patients needing services and procedures that are not available in the West Bank and Gaza are referred for treatment in the EJHN facilities by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Over half of the EJHN workload comes from referred patients from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As such, the EJHN plays a critical role in providing health services to the Palestinian people.
The EJHN has been supported by the European Union and WHO for the last several years. Through the latest phase of this programme (2010-2014) the EU provided €2.4 million which allowed the hospitals to improve the quality of their health services, upgrade their status to the highest international standards (ISO certification and most recently, Joint Commission International accreditation) and engage in joint initiatives and activities (e.g. risk management, legal representation). (EU Neighbourhood Info)
EU Neighbourhood Info Centre – Prestigious accreditation for EU-sponsored Palestinian hospital (14-06-2013)
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