The original St John Eye Hospital was established in Jerusalem in 1882. Since then, they have opened satellite centres taking expert eye care to Gaza, Hebron and Anabta and operate a Mobile Outreach Clinic taking vital services to isolated communities. With high rates of poverty in the region, the hospital makes their services available to all, treating patients regardless of their ethnicity, religion or ability to pay.
During the war it became more difficult for people to reach the main hospital so they set up an eye clinic in Gaza where tens of thousands of patients come to them for treatment. St John is the only charitable provider of expert eye care in Gaza. Their work is incredibly important as rates of blindness are ten times higher in the Palestinian territories than in the West. As 80% of blindness is preventable, their intervention is vital. For those needing complex surgical intervention, they have an effective referral system which supports patients in negotiating the extensive permit process to gain access to Jerusalem for treatment. In spite of immense difficulties and the danger faced daily by the staff, the clinic continues to operate in what is essentially still an emergency situation.
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