By Peter Kenny – LWF Communications Consultant
Geneva, 28 October (LWF) — Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) has passed its first Quality Assurance Team for Radiation Oncology (QUATRO) audit by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says the hospital’s head.
“The QUATRO is a comprehensive audit of radiotherapy practices and a tool for quality improvement,” said Dr. Tawfiq A. Nasser, the Chief Executive Officer of the AVH. QUATRO “is however authorized to shut down any machine, unit, or facility that is deemed unsafe or operating below standards.”
Since 1950, the AVH has been the centerpiece Jerusalem program of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a member of ACT Alliance.
AVH now functions as an institution within the Palestinian healthcare system. It was the first such audit conducted by the IAEA on a Palestinian institution, conducted on the week of 3 October. The next audit will take place in about four years.
AVH’s main task has been to provide services for Palestinian Refugees in cooperation with UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for refugee programs in the Holy Land region since 1948.
“The hospital passed,” said Dr. Nasser. “The unit was deemed to be safe in practice and following all the approved guidelines for treatment in radiation oncology internationally”
Nasser noted, “The hospital also received very constructive comments on how to develop the service for future demands in cancer care.”
When he was in Geneva in September, Dr. Nasser told LWI, “AVH is a leading institution in health and advanced care …. It has excellence in health care and advocating health. It represents a living Christian institution, not just Crusader churches built a few hundred years ago.”
The recent audit was done voluntarily and AVH applied to have it done.
Nasser said the Israeli Ministry of Health had also wanted it to be done. Representatives of the Israeli ministry attended and listened to the recommendations as they were passed on verbally by the inspection team.
“A senior oncologist was also present from the Palestinian Ministry of Health to hear the results. I await the full detailed technical report from the Agency but now we know that we have passed it,” said Nasser.
The audit also authorizes conducting further investigations and repeat QUATRO audits, if the facility is in need of continuous monitoring. In this case it did not need such monitoring.
The QUATRO Team also gave the hospital constructive and important tips on how to proceed with future challenges in the field of radiation oncology.
“Partnerships with hospitals like Radium in Oslo and KHCC in Jordan will be essential to further train and develop our staff,” noted Nasser.