The Bethlehem district lies in the West Bank between the city of Jerusalem to the north and the city of Hebron to the south. The population of the district is about 120,000. The district consists of the town of Bethlehem, the town of BeitJala, the town of Beit Sahour and three refugee camps. It also includes many small villages and semi stable Bedouin settlements.
45% of the population is under 14 years of age. Before the intifada, 98% of the population was in employment which explains the important increase of the GNP which passed from $170 in 1968 to $1520 in 1983. Unfortunately, since December 1987, we observe an important reduction in these figures due to the movement called " INTIFADA '
During the hours of the day. public transport is generally good; yet after six o'clock in the evening it stops. Private cars with the West Bank number plates are not allowed to go into Jerusalem or any of the Israeli territories after midnight.
- The Bethlehem Hussein Hospital : is a good example to focus on and study the general situation of the governmental hospitals in the West Bank. This hospital has 65 beds with 6 maternity beds only, and suffers from unsanitary conditions.The deterioration of the situation is due to a series ofpolitical, social and financial problems.
The Hebron Government Hospital : with 100 beds and 20 maternity beds is in a similar condition. However a new hospital is under construction with an opening date yet to be announced.
The Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem : receives most of the general medical / surgical cases from the refugee camps with the exception of maternity cases. A maternity wing with 14 beds will be opened in August 1990.
The Caritas Baby Hospital : specialized in pediatrics from O to 6 years.
The Mount David Orthopedic Hospital : specialized in handicapped children.
The hospitals of Jerusalem cannot be compared to those of the West Bank. They are fully equipped and have a complete staff of doctors and nurses. West Bankers who obtain the Israeli health insurance are not allowed to go to any of the Israeli hospitals. They have to be treated only in the West Bank hospitals. Exceptionally they are referred to the Israeli hospital People from the West Bank also do not like to betreated in the Israeli hospitals for political and psychological reasons; they wish to have a modern hospital in the territories.
These low figures indicate the absolute necessity of the Holy Family Maternity Hospital, especially because a high percentage of the population of Hebron, who are actually obliged to go to Jerusalem, would prefer to stop in Bethlehem which is situated midway and therefore more practical especially if the patient has to be hospitalised at night.
The Health Insurance in the West Bank is not obligatory, and for the reasons already mentioned above, especially the poor quality of service , The number of insured people has fallen from 40% to less than 20% of the population.
The Health Insurance covers hospitalization in the public institutions in the West Bank, outpatient care and the prevention program..
The political and social situation is very complicated. The area is under military rule but the internal affairs of the West Bank are being run in a narrow range by the local Arab population in the form of Municipalities and under the supervision of a Military Governor.
The population of the Bethlehem area is divided into about 20% Christian and 80% Moslem, and they will all beserved by the hospital as in the past.
"This (The Holy Family Hospital in Bethelhem) is the largest maternity hospital in the Palestian run areas of the Holy land, the largest available to non-Israelis there, modern, efficient and up to date. It is also one of the 100 special projects named by the Holy Father as the object of the Church's charity for this year the year of Charity, and wil be the main object next year, the millenium. It is run jointly by the Daughters of Charity and the SMOM.
" ... on the second floor of the Hospital is an orphanage called the "Creche". It has been operated by the Vincencian Sisters for over 100 years and is supported by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
|The Nature of Membership|
An Article by H.E. Russell Kendall on the Importance of the Work of the Order in the Holy Land
Investiture Speech (1999) by Bro. David Carroll, FSC, Ph.D.
Saints and Beati Proper to the Order
Various Insignia of the Order
History of the Order