Japanese government sponsors new material and child health handbook for Palestine refugees

10 August 2010

4 August 2010

Japanese Government sponsors new material and child health handbook for Palestine RefugeesThe Embassy of Japan and UNRWA launched on Wednesday 4 August a new maternal and child health (MCH) handbook which will be distributed free-of-charge to Palestine refugees across Lebanon who are pregnant or have young children. A ceremony held at UNRWA premises in Beirut in the presence of the Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon, H.E. Koichi Kawakami, the Director of UNRWA Affairs Lebanon, Salvatore Lombardo, as well as representatives of UNRWA-contracted hospitals and NGOs active in mother and child health care.

Through the Government of Japan‘s support, UNRWA will be distributing the MCH handbook to registered refugee mothers in all 29 UNRWA health centres in Lebanon as part of a project aimed at improving its overall MCH programme. The project also includes a training programme for health staff on the use of the handbook and the upgrading of equipment in some health centres.

The handbook monitors the health status of mothers during the pregnancy, delivery and nursing stages of birth, and records all medical check-ups, vaccinations and the growth trend of children from birth to the age of five. The purpose of the handbook is to provide better harmonisation of record-keeping, to standardise MCH care across all health centres in UNRWA and the host country. It also aims to raise awareness of the MCH services available and promote proper pre- and post-natal care throughout the Palestine refugee population.

The project began in October 2009 and has a total budget of US$26,750. The international NGO Medical Aid for Palestinians has contributed funds for printing an additional 10,000 copies of the handbook.

The launching ceremony coincides with the visit of two experts from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which previously sponsored the development and dissemination of MCH handbooks in the West Bank. Due to the success of this pilot project, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now funding MCH projects for Palestine refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

In addition to its contributions to UNRWA‘s MCH programme, Japan has also contributed a total of $6,531,257 to UNRWA for Nahr El-Bared relief assistance (Flash Appeal and Emergency Appeal), $450,000 towards the camp improvement initiative in 2007, and approximately $580,000 to the Agency scholarship programme since 2004.

For further information please contact Hoda Samra, UNRWA Public information officer in Lebanon: +961-70-010129 fax: +961-1-840468 or by e-mail: h.samra@unrwa.org

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 more than US$ 106  million.

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