UNRWA inaugurates the Saudi-funded health centre in Aqaba in Jordan

01 February 2021
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Naif bin Bandar al-Sidairi (center left),  and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Ms. Marta Lorenzo (center right), cut the ribbon to the newly constructed  Saudi-funded UNRWA health center in Aqaba, Jordan during the inauguration ceremony held on 31 January 2021.  © 2021 UNRWA Photo

The Saudi Ambassador to Jordan, His Excellency Mr. Naif bin Bandar al-Sidairi, and the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Jordan, Ms. Marta Lorenzo, yesterday inaugurated the newly constructed Saudi-funded UNRWA health center in Aqaba city in Jordan in the presence of the Director- General of the Department of Palestinian Affairs Eng. Rafiq Khirfan, and on behalf of Aqaba Governor Mr. Mohammed Rafaia, the administrator of the Aqaba District, Dr. Faisal Almasayeed, and several media outlets covering the event.

The new health centre was constructed, furnished and equipped thanks to a US$ 1 million donation received from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), replacing the old, rented health centre and was designed to facilitate access of persons with disabilities.  The Government of Jordan provided the land assigned for the construction of the health centre through the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority. In line with the Agency’s efforts to minimize the environmental impact of its own operations, the centre features an environmentally-friendly solar system to generate electricity and heat water.  Trees and greenery cover the premises and there is a sun-shade.  Furthermore, the building was designed to be earthquake resistant. Operationally, the Aqaba health centre will apply the innovative family health team approach, e-health and the digital Queuing Management System (QMS).

Speaking at the ceremony, His Excellency Mr. Nayef, said, "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a pioneer in humanitarian work, with the aim of alleviating human suffering from various affected people around the world, and is keen to harness its capabilities and resources in the service of humanitarian issues in cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies and international community organizations.” His Excellency continued,  “On top of that is what the Kingdom is doing in devoting its capabilities to support the Palestinian cause in various fields, including the historical cooperation relationship with UNRWA, continuous support for its services and appreciation of its role towards supporting Palestine refugees, noting that this health project comes within the same context, noting that Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries to support the agency, as it is the second largest donor, and that the Kingdom will spare no effort in serving the Palestine brothers and their just cause.”

As part of the ceremony, H.E Mr. Naif bin Bandar al-Sidairi, the Director of UNRWA Affairs, Eng. Rafiq Khirfan and the local notables from the city of Aqaba took a tour inside the health centre where they met with UNRWA health staff and beneficiaries to get their feedback on the services provided and toured the facilities.

“On behalf of UNRWA, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the generous contribution and partnership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with UNRWA and their continuous support to Palestine refugees. The reconstruction of this health center is a critical investment which will serve nearly 10,000 Palestine refugees in Aqaba city,” said the Director of UNRWA Affairs Ms. Marta Lorenzo.

“Primary health services must continue to address health preventive and curative needs of Palestine refugee, particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” she continued.

In 2020, the Aqaba health center provided services to over 1,600 children aged between 0-5 years and 159 pregnant women.  Family planning services were extended to 446 Palestine refugees. There were nearly 1000 medical consultations per month and 350 monthly dental consultations.

In Jordan, UNRWA delivers health services to Palestine refugees through a network of 25 health centers and four mobile clinics, located inside and within the vicinity of Palestine refugee camps and throughout the Kingdom.  Over one million patients visit UNRWA health facilities annually.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the top donors to UNRWA, having contributed over US$ 1 billion since the start of its donor partnership with the Agency.

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 5.7 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:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Tamara Alrifai
UNRWA Spokesperson
+962 (0)79 090 0140