The Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem has launched a new program to reach out to mothers who live in extreme poverty in the region.
The hospital, located just a short distance from the place where Jesus was born, boasts of a modern intensive care unit for newborns which, according to executive director Colleen Marotta “cares for women who, outside the hospital, still endure conditions similar to those endured by Our Lord when He was born, and who endure the most unsanitary and unsafe conditions that exist.” “25% of those women cared for live in refugee camps and 13% of newborn babies are cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit, the only one of its kind in this region.”
Since its founding, Holy Family Hospital has cared for more than 30,000 babies without a single incident of maternal death. Some 200 women a month give birth at the hospital, which is open 24/7 throughout the year.
“The women who give birth,” Marotta said, “are of different creeds and religions, but they are all united in the care and attention they have for bringing their children into the world. Like Mary and Joseph, these families are looking for a place to stay, a place where their children can be safely born. In the entire region, this is the destination point: Holy Family Hospital.”
In 1989, at the request of Pope John Paul II, the Order of Malta took over the administration of hospital and decided it would be dedicated to helping pregnant women and their children. In 2000, the late Pontiff included the hospital in his list of 100 priorities for the new millennium.