On the occasion of World Health Day, UNRWA highlights results of health reform in Lebanon

09 April 2013

5 April 2013

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) held a ceremony today in Lebanon Field Office to present the results of health reform activities generously funded by the Italian Development Cooperation beginning in 2010.

The ceremony was attended by the Italian Ambassador to Lebanon HE Giuseppe Morabito, representatives from the Italian Development Cooperation, all the NGOs and other stakeholders with whom UNRWA collaborates in the field of health, as well as the Director of UNRWA Health Dr Akihiro Seita.

On this occasion, Ambassador Morabito said: “Today, Italy and UNRWA are particularly proud to see that this reform yielded significant improvements: better access, better coverage, better quality, better coordination, better communication, more monitoring and control. In spite of the encouraging results, however, Palestine Refugees continue to face important challenges, namely access to specialized tertiary care in Lebanon.”

Thanking Italy for its continuous support and commitment to UNRWA particularly in the field of health, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon Ann Dismorr said: “Health care is an issue that touches every single Palestine refugee family in Lebanon. The health reform initiative introduced considerable improvements to patient services. However, pressing challenges remain ahead. We count on continued support from our existing donors - and hopefully from new ones - to continue to provide the much needed services.”

The chief of UNRWA’s Health Programme in Lebanon, Dr Mona Osman, gave a presentation on all UNRWA’s activities and results in the field of health reforms since 2009, while highlighting the challenges that remain ahead in the field of tertiary health care.

For more information, read the summary of the report on the reform UNRWA’s health programme in Lebanon.

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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