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Gulf Cooperation Council funding paves way for health centre reconstruction for Gaza refugees
UNRWA opened a newly reconstructed health centre on 11 March that will serve Palestine refugees across the Southern Gaza Strip. The improved Rafah Health Centre, reconstructed with funding from the Gulf Cooperation Council through the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), will serve over 135,000 refugees and last year carried out over 335,000 medical consultations.
Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza Robert Turner welcomed the contribution. “We are grateful for the generous contribution from the Gulf Cooperation Council through the Islamic Development Bank, which will allow us to continue providing quality health care to Palestine refugees in Gaza. Access to quality health care remains a hallmark of the right of all people to live in dignity and UNRWA, with its partners, remain committed to providing the best possible standard of care.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Turner stressed the Agency’s commitment to its priority programmes of providing quality health care and education to all Palestine refugees living across the Gaza Strip. The Agency seeks to complete further health centre reconstructions in Maen, Beit Hanoun, Shaboura and Beach Camp and construct a new health centre in Jabalia Camp in the coming years as part of this ongoing commitment.
With a staff of 67 specialists, the 7,000 square metre health centre in Rafah will dramatically improve access to outpatient care, dental care, and rehabilitation for refugees with disabilities. Moreover, UNRWA provides, in addition to basic health services, supporting services in non-communicable disease care, maternal and family health, preventive medicine, and laboratory and radiological services.
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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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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