The Secretary of State for International Development, Rt. Hon. Justine Greening MP, has commended the “admirable” work of Israeli NGO Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) and confirmed that her department is considering the charity for UK funding.
The International Development Secretary said: “I commend the admirable work that SACH does in the region both for the children receiving medical treatment and for the wider benefit of promoting coexistence”.
She continued: “I am supportive of projects which bring together Palestinians and Israelis, and foster inter-community understanding. Going forward, my intention is for HMG to do more on this agenda, and I have asked my officials to rapidly explore options, including looking at SACH”.
Ms Greening’s comments came in response to a letter signed by 26 Conservatives, who called on the Government to allocate funding to Save a Child’s Heart in Israel.
The letter stated: “Having seen the work of SACH at the Wolfson Medical Centre firsthand, we believe that further UK Government involvement in this laudable charity would be extremely worthwhile”.
Each of the Conservative parliamentarians have visited the charity at the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon during delegations to Israel with Conservative Friends of Israel.
SACH was founded in Israel in 1996 for the sole purpose of improving the quality of paediatric cardiac care for children from low to lower-middle income countries. The NGO has brought thousands of children to Israel for heart surgery from countries where medical care is unavailable.
Over 50% of around 4,000 children who have received life-saving treatment live in Gaza and the West Bank, having been brought to Israel for the surgery together with their parents.
Co-operative efforts have existed for over 15 years between SACH medical staff in Israel and Palestinian cardiologists in the Palestinian Territories. SACH also brings over physicians and nurses from countries around the world, providing them with in-depth postgraduate training at the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, where it is based.
In June, a DfID spokesman announced that the Government has launched a review into its funding of the Palestinian Territories, following concerns raised by numerous Conservative MPs and reports in the Daily Mail about the Palestinian Authority’s misappropriation of foreign aid from its fungible general budget to fund the salaries of Palestinian prisoners convicted of terrorism.