UNRWA Health Programme Supports 2 million Palestine Refugees – Annual Health Report

23 May 2023
Dr. Akihiro Seita, UNRWA Director of Health addresses members of the press at the launch of the 2022 UNRWA Department of Health Report in Geneva, Switzerland. © 2023 UNRWA Photo


Today, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) released its 2022 Annual Health Report. Main report findings include provision of 7.86 million health consultations to some 2 million Palestine Refugees across the Agency’s five fields of operation, namely Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Syria and a rise in the incidence of non-communicable diseases in 2022.

In 2022, the UNRWA health programme successfully combated a resurgence of cholera in the Palestine Refugee camps in Lebanon, brought about by the historic economic crisis there, in addition to the Omicron strain of COVID-19. Further, UNRWA health centres in Gaza and the occupied West Bank provided vital health care amid hostilities.

“We take great pride in announcing the release of the 2022 UNRWA Annual Health Report. The UNRWA Department of Health has made significant strides in revitalizing our services, drawing from the valuable lessons learned during the post-COVID era. Despite facing immense challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, cholera outbreak in Syria and Lebanon, regional turbulence and uncertainty, and the UNRWA financial crisis, we have remained unwavering in our commitment to support the health and well-being of Palestine Refugees,” said Dr. Akihiro Seita, UNRWA Director of Health.

The Agency’s focus on technology was evidenced by significant increased utilization rate for the Non-Communicable Diseases Mobile Application (e-NCD) and the Maternal and Child Health Mobile Application (e-MCH). 

Another area of Agency priority is mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). In 2022, screenings found that one out of five HC patients screened at UNRWA health centres required MHPSS follow up. Patients in Gaza had the highest detection rate at 26.4 per cent.

Recognizing the importance of strengthening primary prevention approach through health education and raising awareness of risk factors among Palestine Refugees, UNRWA will continue to explore primary prevention approaches with a special focus on school children from 2023 onwards.

ENDs –

Notes to Editors

  • In 2022 the patients number returned almost to the pre COVID time with an increase in number of consultations (in-person and telemedicine) by 12.4 per cent compared to 2021 with resumption of full health services and withdrawal of COVID-19 restriction in the host countries.
  • In 2022, the UNRWA Health Programme focused on strengthening its health care systems, improving access to essential health services, and enhancing the capacity of health workers in line with Family Health Team (FHT) approach through the Agency’s network of 140 primary health care centres (HC) and 3,070 health staff.
  • Both apps were utilized by 137,240 and 237,714 users respectively.
  • Additionally in 2022, UNRWA provided maternal health-care services, and family planning care for 190,827 women, 81,166 pregnancies and 425,585 infants and children (0-5 years old).
  • By the end of 2022, a total of 305,855 Palestine refugee patients with DM, and/or hypertension, were registered at 140 HCs in the five fields, which is 14,522 higher than the total NCD patients registered in 2021.
Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.


For more information, please contact:

Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson/ Director of External Relations & Communications
+962 (0)79 090 0140