UNRWA supports early registration of pregnant women

28 January 2016
Twenty-five-year old Palestine refugee Nihaya al-Qidra is reading a brochure on the importance of early registration of pregnancy in the waiting area of the UNWRA Khan Younis Health Centre in southern Gaza. © 2016 UNRWA Photo by Tamer Abu Hamam.

UNRWA provides antenatal care services, including a comprehensive initial physical examination, and regular follow-up checks, including the screening for pregnancy-related hypertension, diabetes mellitus, anemia and oral health issues, in each of its 21 health centres across the Gaza Strip.

Through these antenatal services, UNRWA encourages pregnant women to receive their first antenatal assessment as early as possible to promote early detection and management of risk factors and complications.

Internal research conducted by the UNRWA Khan Younis Health Centre in southern Gaza indicated that roughly 35 per cent of pregnant women in the Khan Younis area do not register their pregnancy in the early stages. For this reason, in late October 2015, the Health Centre launched an initiative titled, ‘I support early registration of pregnancy’. The initiative aims at increasing the percentage of refugee women who register for antenatal care services in UNRWA health centres during the first three months of their pregnancy.

“During my first two pregnancies, I did not register for antenatal care at an UNRWA health centre, but now, due to the outreach campaign run by UNRWA staff, I registered and participated in their awareness sessions. I now understand the importance of early registration,” commented 25-year old Nihaya al-Qidra.

To reach out to the widest audience possible, the UNWRA health centre in Khan Younis designed and distributed informational materials, such as posters and brochures, on the importance of early registration and offered special awareness sessions for women visiting the Health Centre. All of the staff in the Health Centre actively participated in the outreach campaign –  including doctors, nurses, and midwives, as well as the cleaning staff who usually play an important role in guiding patients to the relevant stations –, using this as opportunity to raise further awareness.

According to the Health Centre staff, the campaign has proven successful, and the rate of early registrations has already increased by approximately 6 per cent over the past three months. 

UNRWA provides antenatal care services, including a comprehensive initial physical examination, and regular follow-up checks, including the screening for pregnancy-related hypertension, diabetes mellitus, anemia and oral health issues, in each of its 21 health centres across the Gaza Strip.

For more information, please contact:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724
Najwa Sheikh Ahmad
Acting Public Information Officer - Gaza Field Office
Mobile: 
+972 597 920 542
Office: 
+972 8 2887 488