St John Eye Hospital, Jerusalem
The St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group is the only charitable provider of expert eye care in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Supported by St John organisations across the world, the hospital provides sight-saving eyecare to hundreds of thousands of patients each year, regardless of ethnicity, religion or ability to pay.
At St John Scotland, we are proud to support the Eye Hospital alongside our colleagues from across the worldwide family of St John. Our annual donations fund key personnel and pieces of work, among them sponsorship of Dr Issa Saada, head of the hospital group’s Anaesthesia Department, and his colleague, anaesthesiologist Dr Khadijeh Feroun.
Dr Issa explains what access to a fully qualified and trained team of anaesthesiologists means for patients: “There is a shortage of anaesthetists in the region, and it’s very hard to replace anyone who leaves. I oversee all clinical staff in charge of anaesthesia, to ensure that they are not only well trained in ophthalmology practices, but also anaesthesia particularly.
“One of the most common operations we carry out is cataract surgery. Although adults can come for this surgery under local anaesthetic, children must go under full general anaesthetic, as otherwise the experience would be too traumatic (and dangerous if they were to fidget). Our anaesthesiology team ensure all children, and adults who come for more advanced surgery, have safe and pain-free procedures whilst in our care.”
St John Scotland also makes a donation each year to fund the Hospital’s Medical Resident Library. The Hospital Group is the only organisation providing comprehensive training for Palestinian ophthalmologists, and the library provides a wealth of resources to enable them to further their training. This is especially important due to the restrictions they would face in leaving the occupied Palestinian territories for training.
In 2015, St John Eye Hospital Group opened a new hospital in Hebron (pictured), to better serve the population living in the West Bank, who face ever growing movement restrictions. St John Scotland was the major donor for the new hospital, which greatly improves the accessibility of services for individuals who previously struggled to access treatment.
Last year, the Hebron Hospital saw 12,400 patients and performed more than 420 major operations.