The UNRWA health programme has delivered comprehensive primary health-care services to Palestine refugees for over 60 years, achieving real health gains in the area of communicable diseases and maternal and child care. Today, like other health-care providers, UNRWA faces the challenge of the rise of costly non-communicable-diseases and their treatment.
As the life expectancy of the Palestine refugee population increases, its demography has changed. Refugees are largely young, as those under 24 years of age represent 50 per cent of the population, and overall, the refugees are living increasingly longer as per the host countries. The population’s demography, the global trend of ageing populations suffering from non-communicable diseases, and expensive health care all contribute to the economic burden borne by families who are already struggling under the weight of generalised poverty and unemployment.