Andalucia donates EUR 1.8m to UNRWA mother and child healthcare

06 June 2012

6 June
East Jerusalem

For the third year, UNRWA has signed a financial agreement with the regional government of Andalucía in Spain that will help to provide quality and accessible family health care for Palestine refugee women and their children throughout the Middle East.

As part of the agreement, around 100,000 women will receive regular care during pregnancy and after giving birth, including antenatal care, birth assistance, postnatal monitoring, psychosocial support and other related clinical and therapeutic services. These will be provided through UNRWA´s 137 health centres in the UN Agency’s five areas of operation: Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.

Akihiro Seita, director of UNRWA’s health programme, said:

“I want to thank the government of Andalucía for this generous donation, which comes for the third year running.

“This support will make possible UNRWA’s essential work with Palestine refugee mothers and children, and advance our overall goal of promoting long and healthy lives for all Palestine refugees.”

UNRWA’s Mother and Child health care initiative is part of the Agency’s wider health programme, which aims to promote long and healthy lives for Palestine refugees throughout their life cycle; from birth to active ageing.

The EUR 1.8 million agreement marks the third year of UNRWA’s cooperation with Andalucía, and highlights the Spanish region’s continuous support for the improvement of maternal and child health in the Palestinian refugee camps in which the Agency is active. Some of UNRWA’s main achievements so far include the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates and the promotion of mother and child health thanks to medical surveillance from preconception to beyond delivery, awareness campaigns to promote deliveries in hospitals vs. home births, specialised personnel training, early identification and control of the preventable causes of maternal mortality, and a reduction of the fertility rate.

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Background information:

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight.

UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.

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