East Jerusalem: flexible support for the health system

Swift action was taken to supply two hospitals with important medical equipment during the pandemic. This helps immediately and in the long term.

Swift and flexible support in times of crisis that brings about structural improvements – this is what transitional development assistance is all about. East Jerusalem is one of the places where the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH provides it, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). A large proportion of the Palestinian population here lives below the poverty line. Unemployment is high, especially among young people, who therefore see hardly any prospects for their future. GIZ works to help these young people create job prospects for themselves and to foster their integration into society.

However, in East Jerusalem the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic threatened to trigger a new and more acute crisis: an overloaded health system. BMZ and GIZ therefore quickly adapted the priorities for transitional development assistance to ensure that sufficient medical supplies reached the eastern part of Jerusalem. They supported two hospitals by delivering urgently needed medical equipment and consumables.

Targeting support where it’s needed

One of the hospitals was the Al-Makassed Hospital, the largest in East Jerusalem, which treats up to 7,000 patients every month. Rabee Adwan, Head of the Infectious Diseases Unit, says, ‘During the pandemic, GIZ provided us with much-needed equipment including things like ventilators, defibrillators and additional beds.’

The second hospital, St. Joseph’s, is one of the leading hospitals in East Jerusalem and was severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic. GIZ also helped here by supplying equipment for laboratories and the operating room, and medical devices such as ECG (electrocardiogram) machines.

Supporting hospitals in East Jerusalem during Covid-19

Mahmoud Badrieh, a senior surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital, says, ‘The equipment that GIZ provided really helped us get through the difficult times of the pandemic. It enabled us to perform surgical procedures much more quickly and to increase the daily number of operations from eight to twelve as a result.’

Around 13,000 patients now benefit every month from improved medical care, which is continuing beyond the crisis, as Mahmoud Badrieh reports: ‘The measures are of great benefit to the health system and also to patients, who receive treatment quickly and can return home soon afterwards.’

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