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UNRWA Opens New Health Centre in Doura Funded by The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) yesterday inaugurated a new health centre in the town of Doura south of the West Bank city of Hebron. The centre was built with generous funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).
UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, Gwyn Lewis, and the mayor of Doura, Ahmad Salhoub, attended the opening ceremony, in addition to UNRWA health programme staff members and representatives of local community.
Paying tribute to the historic support UNRWA and Palestine refugees have received from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the years, UNRWA Commissioner-General Krähenbühl said: “I want to seize this opportunity to renew my deep gratitude to the Kingdom. If not for their outstanding support to UNRWA, this facility would not be here today. The Doura health centre is one of many successfully implemented health and educational projects, made possible for Palestine refugees thanks to the generosity and solidarity of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Doura mayor Mr. Ahmad Salhoub thanked UNRWA and the Kingdom for their continued support. “UNRWA has relentlessly stood by Palestine refugees, with great attention to health and educational services,” he said. “We thank the Commissioner-General for all his fundraising efforts and are grateful to donor countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who continue to fund the Agency and support Palestine refugees.”
The health centre includes specialized rooms for family planning, pre-natal care and mother-baby care, and rooms for patients with non-communicable diseases. The new facilities also include units for dental care, laboratory services, X-Ray, physiotherapy, psycho-social counsellin, and indoor and outdoor recreational space for children with external green areas. The centre will serve 36,000 Palestine refugees who live in Doura and the surrounding villages.
Since 2013, SFD has funded the establishment of eight UNRWA health centres throughout the West Bank. A new centre in Biddo village, northwest of East Jerusalem, is currently under construction and will be operational by the end of 2019. This comes in addition to two centres which are being renovated in the West Bank camps of Aida and Nur Shams, and expected to be operational by the end of 2020.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is among the top three donors to UNRWA, having contributed over US$ 800 million since the start of its donor partnership with the Agency, something that UNRWA deeply appreciates.
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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