St Johns

In the occupied Palestinian territories the rate of Blindness is ten times higher than in western countries and 12-15% of the population is diabetic, Compared to only 4.6% of the UK population, making them twenty five percent more likely to develop blindness in later life. This is down to a number of factors from marriages within families contributing to higher than normal rates of hereditary conditions, to poor diet. The newly built security wall has meant that access to healthcare has become harder and Palestinians must first apply to the Israeli authorities for permits allowing them access to Jerusalem where the main hospital, and a lot of other major healthcare institutions are based. Israel has been referred to as a virtual apartheid state because of limits on movement between the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel as well as the lack of access to healthcare and other basic services. Recent peace talks have failed to find a diplomatic solution and, once again, dampened hopes for a two state solution to the conflict.

St John's Eye Hospital in Jerusalem has been based in the city for over 130 years and has clinics and outreach teams that work in the West Bank and Gaza. In the Gaza strip 80% of the population of around 1.5 million are dependant on this kind of medical aid. It provides ophthalmic care for anyone regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. The cost of treatment is worked out on a means tested basis and the costs for Palestinian refugees is covered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. In 2013 the Hospitals and outreach team treated over 114000 patients across the Occupied territories and Jerusalem. A third of these patients were under 18. Health care institutions are limited in the Occupied Palestinian areas because of lack of money and resources. The Hospital is run mainly on private donations and as well as through funding from UN programs and the Red Crescent Society. The outreach teams will be the only doctors some of the residents in remote areas of the West Bank see for around six months. The Anabta and Hebron Clinics were opened to serve people who cannot access the main Jerusalem Hospital. Access to Jerusalem is controlled through permits issued by the Israeli authority. These clinics work in partnership with the Red Crescent Society.

The Hospitals serve a total population of around four million.

Will Ashton
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