Extending Thalassaemia coverage for refugee children at Lebanon’s Chronic Care Centre

20 May 2012

18 May 2012
Beirut, Lebanon

In an agreement signed today with Lebanon’s Chronic Care Centre, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) will cover the health care costs of Palestine refugee children receiving treatment for Thalassaemia, a blood disorder prevalent in the Mediterranean region – especially among Palestinians.

Refugee children up to 11 years of age will be fully covered at the Centre through UNRWA’s Catastrophic Ailment Relief (CARE) programme, in addition to 70 per cent coverage of chronic medications at discounted rates.

Mouna Haroui, president of the Centre, welcomed the announcement: “Through this co-operative effort, patients will be provided with proper diagnosis and the appropriate specialised care. Along with the medication supplied by UNRWA, improved access to comprehensive treatment will allow Thalassaemics to cope better with their chronic condition and to avoid long-term complications. We also plan to work with UNRWA on prevention efforts, as we have demonstrated success at decreasing new births associated with the condition.”

Through a joint health awareness campaign, UNRWA and the Chronic Care Centre will conduct “train the trainer” sessions for staff of the refugee agency, helping to disseminate information about Thalassaemia among its beneficiaries in Lebanon.

“We are very pleased that this agreement will help us to provide better health care for Palestine refugee children”, said Salvatore Lombardo, speaking on behalf of UNRWA. “With the condition showing high prevalence among the refugee community in Lebanon, this collaboration will be of great importance to the families we serve.”

CARE, launched by UNRWA in April 2011, aims to reduce the financial burden on Palestine refugees accessing health care for catastrophic illnesses. With the support of private partners and health care providers in Lebanon, the Agency has gradually expanded its coverage of secondary and tertiary health care for its beneficiaries. The initiative is complemented by free primary medical care provided in UNRWA health clinics, and existing coverage for blood transfusions in hospitals contracted by the Agency.

“I wish success to this collaboration, aimed at giving every child the right to health care, and building healthier generations to come”, added Mrs. Haraoui.

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For further information please contact Hoda Samra, UNRWA Public information officer in Lebanon: +961-70-010129 fax: +961-1-840468 or by e-mail: [email protected]

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. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. 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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