Research shows that blindness causes poverty, and that recovering lost vision raises the economic status of individuals and families.
With our main hospital in Jerusalem and satellite centres in Hebron, Anabta and Gaza – as well as Mobile Outreach Clinics operating throughout the West Bank – it is our mission to ensure that our patients are able to access poverty-relieving ophthalmic services regardless of where they live.
First established in Jerusalem in 1882, the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group is the only charitable provider of crucial eye care to the people of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
Access to specialist healthcare in the region in limited. Many ordinary people are unable to move freely and nearly half live below the poverty line.
The rate of blindness is ten times higher than in developed countries. 30% of the population is under the age of ten and the incidence of conditions particularly affecting children – such as squint, infantile glaucoma, cataract and trauma – is high.
In adults cataract, glaucoma and the complications of diabetes are the main blinding conditions.
Diabetes is a pandemic medical and social scourge in the region. At 12 to 15% of the population, sufferers are three times more prevalent than in the West. Complications can damage the retina and lead to blindness. Diabetic retinopathy affects up to 80% of all diabetics. It is the main cause of blindness amongst the working age population across the globe.
Despite operating in one of the world's most difficult environments, in 2012 we treated 111,498 patients.
St John Eye Hospital Group is a Foundation of The Order of St John. The Order traces its origins back 900 years to the Knights Hospitaller from whom St John today derives its inspiration – Pro Fide Pro Utilitate Hominum, 'For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity.'
The Order of St John was restructured in 1999 and the Hospital was established both as a separate charity and as a wholly owned corporate subsidiary of The Order. The Board of Directors is appointed by the Grand Council of The Order and is under the Chairmanship of Nicholas Woolf.
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