Support to Diabetes Clinic at Holy Family Hospital Bethlehem
Empowerment of women by providing relatively easily accessible (by comparison to East Jerusalem) free of charge medical treatment for socially disadvantaged pregnancy diabetes patients.
1) Improved access to diabetes screening and treatment for pregnant women in the West Bank (Palestinian Territories) and 2) reliable services for poor and/or vulnerable women by the clinic with the aim of preventing and/or treating pregnant patients.
The Austrian contribution aims at preventing serious maternal and/or infant mortality risks for 325 women. Ordre de Malte implements the project with the support of the Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem. The project is targeting all pregnant women in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas, who do not have access to any other clinic as a result of movement restrictions as part of the Israeli occupation.
Ordre de Malte aims at screening all pregnant women arriving at the Holy Family Hospital (around 1,900 annually, as estimated based on the experience from the previous project) for gestational diabetes (GD) and pre-existing diabetes condition (PDC, Type I or II). Thereafter, the project aims at training all pregnant women actually diagnosed with diabetes at the clinic as well as treating all pregnant women diagnosed with diabetes. Finally, the project intends to contain and control fetal complications and admit and adequately treat the newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as necessary.
A shocking de-development consequence caused by medical care access denial risks deriving from closure already being observed in the Palestinian Territories is the rising infant mortality rate in Gaza. Infant mortality, one of the best indicators for the health of a community, has risen in Gaza for the first time in 50 years. More pertinent to the proposed intervention, the rate of neonatal mortality in Gaza has also risen significantly, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA, 2015), progress in combating infant mortality does not usually reverse. The trend in Gaza is unprecedented and rarely observed outside communities affected by HIV epidemics.
Albeit at a lower scale, significant de-development issues due to movement restriction-related medical care access denial risks also exist for Palestinians in the West Bank as well, who need medical care in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem. It is estimated that around 20% of these patients are denied permit by Israel to enter East Jerusalem for medical treatment, regardless of their health condition, only based on “security reasons”, which are never transparently corroborated based on the individual case.
At the same time, no health care institution in the West Bank outside East Jerusalem is capable of providing pregnancy diabetes treatment other than the HFH.