31 May 2013
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) launched the School Health Strategy in Amman today, at the 15th meeting of Field Family Health Officers, Senior Dental Surgeons and Health Education Specialists.
Poverty, high population density and poor living conditions in refugee communities mean that UNRWA students can be particularly vulnerable to a number of health risks, many of them related to school environments.
As the Education and Health departments consider the difficult living circumstances and health status of Palestine refugee, the School Health Strategy offers guidance to provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to reduce health risks. The Strategy addresses four core areas: comprehensive health services, a child-friendly, safe and healthy school environment, health education, and nutrition and canteens.
“This strategy is an improvement on the current School Health Programme because we are focusing on individual students and their needs. We wish to provide them with the best health outcomes to permit them to succeed in their academic achievements”, said Dr Majed Hababeh, Chief, Health Protection and Promotion.
While the Strategy will strengthen UNRWA‘s School Health Programme, it will also ensure that it is inclusive, protective and preventative and that it is carried out in coordination with the Health and Education Programmes in the Agency‘s five Fields of operation in Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria.
"With this Strategy, we are working toward achieving the universal human development goals of a long and healthy life. We are proud to contribute to the Department of Education’s effort to equip children with the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to protect their health", remarked UNRWA Director of Health, Akihiro Dr. Seita.
"The Agency is taking a crucial step towards identifying and responding to all of our students health needs. We are improving our process to ensure maximum impact on their health and well-being and to better meet the health needs of every child." said Raja’ Omar, UNRWA Head of Inclusive Education.
Educating over 491,000 Palestine refugee children in the region, UNRWA provides its students with school health services to ensure their healthy development in safe, clean and inclusive learning environments. The Agency has elaborated the School Health Strategy to realign existing practices into an updated child-centred approach echoing UNRWA’s overall approach to inclusive education and health reform.
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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$ 66.9 million.
For more information, please contact:
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724