Gaza’s Al Ahli Arab Hospital

There are so many opportunities for regular giving to help those in need that it’s hard to choose. Through Anglicord, James and I have elected to support the Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Located in Gaza City, it is a haven of peace in the middle of one of the world’s most troubled places.

The hospital’s mission is to provide the finest medical care possible with gracious Christian care under the most adverse circumstances. The hospital treats all people in need regardless of race, religion, nationality, political persuasion, or ability to pay. The hospital operates an emergency room, elderly women’s clinic, and a mobile clinic for people who cannot reach the hospital. The political status of Gaza affects all aspects of life there because of restrictions on movement of materials and people in and out. Electricity, medicines, food, fuel, and personnel are all restricted to some extent. Yet, Al Ahli Arab Hospital continues to provide some of the finest medical care available in the region.

In the late 1800s, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) established medical work in Gaza and, in 1907, they built the first hospital in Gaza City. This hospital was destroyed during the First World War, and was rebuilt by CMS, as Al Ahli Arab Hospital. Because of its location in the centre of the City, the Hospital receives casualties from surrounding heavily populated neighbourhoods. It works closely with the Palestinian National Authority Ministry of Health, and is the first to receive the overflow from the government hospital in the central area of Gaza. During the Intifadas and the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, the Hospital was often swamped with wounded victims of the violence. Sometimes there were so many casualties that staff were forced to treat patients on the floor. During the last couple of years, as a result of the second Intifada, the Hospital has again been in great demand. .

Under extremely trying circumstances, the hospital continually tailors its programs to areas of most need. The mobile medical clinic serves some of Gaza’s poorest neighbourhoods. The programs for malnourished children, the elderly, and chronically ill women, are dramatically improving the quality of life for many. Condemning violence on all sides, the Hospital staff search for ways to promote peace, reconciliation and justice for those of all religions and nationalities in its community

A mental health outreach program provides post-traumatic and ongoing stress care for families. This program was designed specifically for the Gaza context, with training in stress reduction techniques provided to mothers who are then encouraged to share these techniques with their families.

AngliCORD also supports a regular residency at Al Ahli Arab Hospital by Australian surgeon Geoff Bird and his wife Beris, a palliative care specialist, who provides training for nurses that would otherwise not be available.