In October the US Administration cut $25m of funding to six East Jerusalem hospitals, of which St John Eye Hospital is one.
This development was unexpected because these hospitals had specifically been exempted from a previous round of funding cuts in March in recognition of their humanitarian work and reputation in the region. Unfortunately, this exemption has now been revoked.
What does this mean for St John Eye Hospital funding?
The Administration’s decision results in an immediate loss of around £500,000 this year, and the need to find alternative sources of comparable levels of funding in future years.
Where are the funds lost from?
- Core Costs
In recent years, USAID has provided generous assistance towards core costs of SJEHG, including patient programmes and the cost of vital equipment. As a result of the recent decision, $500,000 which had been committed for an urgent patient programme in Gaza has now been withdrawn, resulting in a further loss of connected funds from other sources and a consequent reduction in the services able to be provided under the programme. A further $1.8m which had received internal approval will now not proceed. Thus, we urgently need to find alternative funding streams to maintain the range and level of patient care across SJEHG over the coming years.
- Patient Income
The US gives a substantial proportion of funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA), which has now been withdrawn. Currently, over a third of our patient income derives from patient referrals funded by the PA, and nearly 10% comes from services to patients funded by UNRWA. Both the PA and UNRWA are seeking alternative sources of funding to reduce the impact, but in the current circumstances, even these payments may be at risk.
These cuts will affect all our operations; the effect will certainly be severe and could be devastating.
What does this mean for our services?
A loss of funding of this magnitude, if it continued for any significant length of time would inevitably result in cuts of vital services.
To put it into perspective £500,000 is roughly the annual cost of:
- Our West Bank and Gaza Mobile Outreach units, which see 27,400 vulnerable patients a year; or
- Over 700 life-changing cataract surgeries; or
- Approximately the annual running cost of each of our Hebron and Anabta centres.
This is, therefore, a critical moment in the 136-year history of St John Eye Hospital, and we are appealing to our core supporters to help us through. The Hospital has seen troubles before but the help of loyal supporters has enabled us to thrive as a bastion of hope, empowerment and life-changing services in the region.
Please don't close your eyes to St John.
In a recent press release Bishop Tim Stevens, Prelate of our Order, issued an appeal to supporters, “SJEHG have weathered through many storms in our 136-year history thanks to the support of our wider St John family and the international community. We now ask you to help us once more to continue our vital mission”.
We ask you now, in a time of serious need, to donate anything you can to our emergency appeal fund.
How can you help?
- Donate to our emergency fund to cover the cost of the cuts - our aim is the initial £500,000 and every single penny counts towards this goal
- Share with friends and family
- Raise awareness among your community by hosting a blindfold challenge, coffee morning, talk or anything else to rally support