Founded in 1953 in Bethlehem, Caritas Baby Hospital (CBH) stands as the singular pediatric hospital in the West Bank. The hospital is affiliated since 1963 with the Swiss NGO Children’s Relief Bethlehem (CRB), headquartered in Luzern, Switzerland.
Each year, CBH provides approximately 50,000 treatments to Palestinian children, spanning from infancy to 18 years of age. These treatments encompass both outpatient care and inpatient services, offered within the hospital's wards. CBH is renowned for its comprehensive treatment of fundamental pediatric illnesses, neonatal and congenital disorders, as well as attending to patients with hereditary, neurologic, and metabolic conditions.
CBH's forward-looking strategy, CBH 2025 - Reinventing the Future, is centered around introducing daily pediatric surgery. Additionally, the hospital is committed to expanding neonatal intensive care, long-term care and rehabilitation options for children, responding to these vital specialties which align with local health priorities.
The majority of CBH's patients originate from the southern reaches of the West Bank, predominantly the governorates of Bethlehem and Hebron. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) reports that the served area is home to over 400,000 children, constituting an impressive 42% of the total population.
Better health for all children in Palestine.
Improve health outcomes of children in Palestine through specialized and safe services delivered by a high caliber team.
The foundation of Caritas Baby Hospital date back to the events of 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had been displaced and were living in deep poverty in refugee camps following the establishment of the State of Israel and the subsequent war of independence, or Nakba.
Hedwig Vetter, an employee of Caritas Switzerland, traveled to Bethlehem in 1949, where she was confronted with the misery of the Palestinian population. Together with Palestinian physician Dr. Antoine Dabdoub, she set up an outpatient clinic for babies, laying the foundation for Caritas Baby Hospital. In 1952, Caritas Switzerland sent Father Ernst Schnydrig, from the Canton of Valais, Switzerland, to Bethlehem to assess the situation of the Palestinian refugees. He met Hedwig Vetter in Bethlehem. Both Schnydrig and Vetter were convinced that they, as Christians, should help the people living in Jesus’ birthplace. After returning to Europe, Schnydrig began working at the German Caritas Association; from then on, he campaigned to secure financial support in Switzerland and Germany for Caritas Baby Hospital. In 1963, he founded the non-profit association Children's Relief Bethlehem, based in Lucerne.
In April 1978, Caritas Baby Hospital opened its own hospital building. Since then, the hospital has continued to develop and to align their services with global medical standards.