Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, visited the Lutheran World Federation’s campus in East Jerusalem on February 2, 2012. Mrs. Ban, who has for many years devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, was accompanied by Mr. Felipe Sanchez, Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Operations in the West Bank.
Dr. Tawfiq Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), and Rev. Mark Brown, the Regional Representative of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem and the Middle East, received the guests and spoke about the historic relationship between AVH and UNRWA, as well as present day issues of access to healthcare facing Palestinians.
The LWF began working with UNRWA and the International Committee of the Red Cross more than sixty years ago in order to establish Augusta Victoria as a hospital for refugees. With significant support from UNRWA, AVH became the largest hospital in the area and played a key role in the provision of secondary healthcare to Palestinian refugees after the 1948 war.
Today, AVH is a leading specialty hospital in East Jerusalem and continues to serve Palestinian refugees in this capacity. The AVH Cancer Care Center is the only facility in the West Bank and Gaza where Palestinians can receive radiation treatment. Many referrals come directly from the all-female team of Palestinian physicians, nurses and technicians that staff the hospital’s Mobile Mammography Unit, which strives to identify women with breast cancer at an early stage.