The Poorest Deserve the Best Hospital of Bethlehem

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has used his Christmas Day sermon to reflect on the problems of the Middle East, with the theme “the poorest deserve the best”. Here is the full text of the sermon:

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Three days ago in Bethlehem, I was holding a new-born baby in my arms.

He had been abandoned by his mother, found by the side of the road and taken into the St Vincent creche, attached to Holy Family Hospital – along with dozens of other children who had been similarly abandoned, usually because they had been born to single mothers in what is often still a fiercely patriarchal and puritanical society.

But other stories from the creche and the wards remind you of some of the even bigger challenges of the region.

The hospital has the best resourced maternity unit in the whole of the West Bank, equal to the best in Israel; we were privileged to be taken in to the intensive care unit to see babies born at 25 weeks who had survived thanks to the care offered by the astonishing staff of this institution.

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