Milestone Birth at West Bank Hospital Seen as a Symbol of Peace for Holy Land

Doctors deliver historic 50,000th baby at Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem its 50,000th baby

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct 18, 2010 –  She is a ray of hope, arriving Oct. 18 in one of the world’s poorest, most volatile regions. She is Aisha – the 50,000th baby born at Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem.

“This is a very special moment for the hospital, for us, for our future and especially for the mother,” said Dr. Jadallah Najjar, who delivered the baby and is head of Holy Family Hospital’s Gynecology and Obstetrics Department. “I hope there will be peace in this land, and that this birth is a symbol of that peace.”

At 9:30 a.m. local time on Oct. 18, 2010, Dr. Najjar delivered Aisha to Hafsah Omar Radaydiah, 19, and her husband Isam, 24. She weighed 7.5 pounds and was 19.7 inches long. Mother and baby are doing well! “I am so happy,” Hafsah Radaydiah said. “I have been waiting to become a mother. This will change my whole life… I’m happy because she is so beautiful.”

“We’ve just heard the exciting news,” said Colleen Marotta, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Holy Family Hospital Foundation. “We are thrilled to welcome the 50,000th life at our hospital.”


“This birth is very exciting and symbolic,” said Dr. Jacques M. Keutgen, general director of the hospital. “A young lady, 19 years old, giving birth to her first baby. This is the future of this hospital.”

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta has operated Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem since 1990 at the request of Pope John Paul II who declared the Hospital one of the top 100 global priorities for the new millennium. Over the past 20 years, it has provided a variety of maternity, gynecological and pediatric services to families in the region without regard to race, religion or ability to pay. Located only 500 yards from the traditionally recognized birthplace of Jesus, no family has ever arrived at its doors to hear that “there is no room.”

Today, the hospital provides a variety of services not otherwise available in the West Bank. It has the region’s only neonatal intensive care unit, which saves an estimated 400 infants every year. Its outpatient clinics provide more than 22,000 consultations annually, and its mobile outreach vans deliver hope weekly to desperately poor families living in the Judean desert.

Holy Family Hospital also provides mammography, laparoscopic surgery and Echo Doppler diagnosis services not found anywhere else in the region. And the hospital has trained nearly 90 midwives – the entire number working in hospitals throughout the West Bank – a remarkable contribution to healthcare in the region.