Today, 800 meters from the birthplace of Jesus Christ, one special door is always open to the poor and destitute expectant mothers; Holy Family Hospital - Bethlehem, a state of the art maternity hospital, because "the poorest deserve the best".
The Daughters of Charity bought a large plot of land in Bethlehem where they laid the cornerstone for an 80-bed hospital.
The Turkish Sultan Abdul-Hamid II gave the Sisters of Charity the licence to build and maintain a hospital in Bethlehem. At a later date, the Turkish Authorities gave the hospital tax exemption within the Mytilene and Constantinople Agreements signed with the French Government.
The Holy Family Hospital opened its doors, and grew into a busy general hospital, providing medical, surgical and maternity facilities for the people of Bethlehem for almost a century.
The hospital was forced to close due to political and social factors associated with the Arab / Israeli conflict. That same year, in answer to the crisis, the Order of Malta decided to reopen one wing as a 28-bed maternity unit. It received assistance from the European Union for its renovation and equipment.
26th February 1990
The first baby was born in the new facility.
Due to increase in activity, an extension was added to include two extra delivery rooms, a second operating room, nine extra beds and a neonatal unit. Again, the European Union generously helped in the funding the equipment.
The number of babies taken care of in the neonatal unit was 277, with 1839 deliveries.
The United States O’Neil Foundation donated a fully-equipped, mobile clinic to the hospital. This unit made it possible for doctors to provide at-home medical and social assistance directly to patients living in communities living in the distant hills of the region, where basic services such as running water, electricity and public clinics are lacking.
A milestone year for the hospital with the increase of the capacity from 47 to 63 beds due to the ever increasing demand (e.g. the occupancy rate of the neonatal Unit was reaching over 120%). A new floor is inaugurated housing a new Labor Ward and a larger Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. A new diabetic clinic for pregnant women has opened in 2010, dedicated to the treatment and management of gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. The clinic provides diabetic care free of charge.
A new paediatric and neonatal care unit is inaugurated thanks to a donation from the Belgian Government. The unit will provide assistance for those living in villages around Bethlehem.
Construction work began for the expansion of the operating rooms and the administration department.
The Mobile Clinic provided over 4,000 medical consultations to mothers and children living in villages around Bethlehem.
Since 1990 More than 90,000 babies have been born in the hospital. The Holy Family Hospital delivers approximately 70 percent of all Bethlehem infants, maintaining a survival rate of nearly 100 percent.