Italy contributes EUR 2 million in support of UNRWA health services in Gaza

12 October 2018

The Government of Italy and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) formalized an agreement for a EUR 2 million contribution to the UNRWA health programme in Gaza on 12 October 2018 during a signing ceremony held at the Italian Consul General residence in Jerusalem.  UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl and the Secretary-General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Elisabetta Belloni signed the agreement, with the acknowledgment of the Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation Mr. Leonardo Carmenati.

“UNRWA would like to thank Italy for its continued support of the Agency’s vital health services in Gaza. It is only with support from donor partners like Italy that UNRWA is able to continue to serve the Palestine refugee community,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl.

The project, entitled “Supporting the Provision of Primary Health Care at UNRWA Health Centres”, will enable UNRWA to sustain the provision of its vital health-care services at three Agency health centres, namely the UNRWA Bureij Health Centre, the UNRWA Khan Younis Health Centre and the UNRWA Maghazi Health Centre for the next twelve months. This contribution will support the provision of some 400,000 medical consultations by funding the staffing costs of Agency health staff at the aforementioned centres. UNRWA is proud to employ 963 health care staffers across Gaza, 61.5 per cent of whom are female staffers.

The Agency provides primary health services to approximately 1.3 million Palestine refugees in Gaza. This includes both preventive care and curative care throughout 22 health centres spread across the embattled enclave. Alongside personalized maternal health and family planning available in all health centres, UNRWA implements a Family Health Team (FHT) approach. Families are registered and assigned to a team of health professionals consisting of a doctor, nurse and midwife. This team is responsible for all health care needs for the family through all stages of life. Furthering this holistic approach to health care, the Agency provides vital clinical and laboratory services.  In addition, radiology is available at six health centres, while dental services are available in 21 centres. As of 2017, the Agency provided some 3.8 million consultations in its health centres.

The Government of Italy has long been one of the Agency’s most reliable donors, contributing a total of EUR 91,762,678 since 2007. In 2017, the Italian Government contributed more than US$ 14 million to support UNRWA and has continued its substantial support to the Agency during its most challenging fiscal deficit to date.

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 5.4 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. 

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: 
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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