The European Union provided today an additional contribution of €9.27 million to support the Palestinian Authority with medical referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals. This contribution is particularly timely amid the huge challenges facing the Palestinian health sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The East Jerusalem hospitals are fundamental elements in the Palestinian health system, as thousands of Palestinians benefit from their specialized services that are not available elsewhere in the West Bank or Gaza. The contribution by the EU will enable these hospitals to maintain their crucial services while responding to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Together with European Union Member States, the EU has been supporting the Palestinian Authority with regular contributions to cover the costs of referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals since 2012. Since then, the total support amounts to €140 million.
"We are witnessing an alarming increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Palestine. The health care system is overloaded and faces unprecedented challenges. Under these difficult circumstances, it is crucial that East Jerusalem hospitals can continue to provide quality specialised health care to Palestinians from all parts of the Palestinian territory. Through our Team Europe approach, we have managed to mobilize resources from the EU and its Members States to help the Palestinian Authority in facing the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Our support to the Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem demonstrates once again our strong commitment towards the Palestinian people as well as the Palestinian institutions in the city", said the EU Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff.
The East Jerusalem Hospitals serve as the main centres for specialized care within the Palestinian health system. Patients needing medical services that are not available in the West Bank and Gaza – such as specialist oncology, renal care and cardiac surgeries - are referred for treatment in the East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. There are six health institutions in East Jerusalem: Augusta Victoria Hospital, Makassed Hospital, St Joseph Hospital, St John's Eye Hospital, Palestinian Red Crescent Maternity Hospital and Princess Basma Rehabilitation Centre.
Most of the European Union's assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is channelled through PEGASE Direct Financial Support to the PA, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan (2008-2010) and the subsequent Palestinian national development plans. It also aims at meeting a substantial part/ portion/ amount of the PA's running costs. European Union funds currently support major reform and development programmes in key ministries to help prepare the PA for statehood. Since February 2008, over €2.3 billion have been disbursed through PEGASE Direct Financial Support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA as well as through a wide range of other cooperation projects.