The Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem has been fighting, through its maternity ward, to bring hope and joy to mothers and their babies amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Holy Family Hospital has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but according to Michele Burke Bowe, Sovereign Order of Malta’s Ambassador to Palestine, the people of Bethlehem have not lost their Christmas spirit.
The Hospital is a specialized maternity and neonatal critical care center struggling to provide life-saving care to vulnerable families in the Holy Land as isolation and economic downfall impacts its capacity.
Speaking to Vatican Radio, Ambassador Bowe describes some pictures she was given not long ago, on the Feast of St Barbara. On that day, one of the women who looks after the ladies on the ward overcame “the huge food insecurities” that have struck Bethlehem in order to keep alive hundreds and hundreds of years of tradition. She fed a huge batch of porridge-like traditional food to all the mothers and staff on the ward “bringing joy and radiance to their faces”.
This is just one example of the support this little hospital shows. The city is the poorest in the whole of Palestine, after Gaza, and since the lockdown started in March, “90% of the people living in Bethlehem have not received a salary”, says Ambassador Bowe. “A lot of people think that because it is a very Christian governate that it is wealthier” she notes. “It is not”. Ambassador Bowe explains that Bethlehem is “totally dependant on pilgrimages, restaurants, hotels” and tourism in general. “Any problem that strikes tourism, strikes Bethlehem”.
By Linda Bordoni & Francesca Merlo