Jerusalem / PNN/
Finland is making a contribution of €2 million to the Palestinian Authority to support the payment of medical referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals. This contribution is channelled through the EU Programme of Direct Financial Support to the Palestinian Authority ‘PEGASE mechanism’.
This support will help the Palestinian Authority in meeting its obligations towards East Jerusalem hospitals against the backdrop of the PA’s ongoing dramatic fiscal crisis and the socio-economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also help the East Jerusalem Hospitals to maintain critical medical services to Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.
Together with European Union Member States, the EU has been supporting the Palestinian Authority since 2012 with regular contributions to the payment of referrals to East Jerusalem Hospitals that have reached over €140 million since then.
These hospitals are an integral part of the Palestinian healthcare system providing specialized services that cannot be found elsewhere in the West Bank and in Gaza.
“The East Jerusalem hospitals are among the few Palestinian institutions still working in the city and provide essential quality health care services that are not available elsewhere in Palestine. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and its unprecedented implications for the well-being of the Palestinian population, they have played a crucial role as an integral part of the Palestinian health sector,’’ said European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff. “The European Union and its Member States support these hospitals to ensure that they continue to serve Palestinian patients from all over the occupied Palestinian territory. By this, we also help preserve the Palestinian identity of East Jerusalem that is challenged each day by Israel’s ongoing occupation practices,’’ he added.
“Finland remains committed to supporting the high-quality health care for Palestinians from East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. Our direct financial support through PEGASE creates stability and alleviates life of Palestinian families in need of specialized health services”, said Ambassador Päivi Peltokoski, Representative of Finland.
Most of the European Union’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority is channelled through PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the PA Reform and Development Plan and the subsequent Palestinian national plans and policy agendas. As well as helping to meet a substantial proportion of its running costs, European funds support major reform and development programmes in key ministries, to help prepare the PA for statehood. Since February 2008, over €2.9 billion have been disbursed through the PEGASE Direct Financial Support programmes. In addition, the EU has provided assistance to the Palestinian people through UNRWA and a wide range of cooperation projects.
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.