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

09 April 2013

5 April 2013
Beirut

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 confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall,  projected for 2016 to stand at US$ 81 million. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

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

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