Health care support for Palestine
In early August 2018, the Austrian government has donated EUR 1 million (USD 1.157.407) to help the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) provide health care to Palestine refugees in Gaza and the West Bank.
UNRWA operates 65 primary health care facilities in Gaza and the West Bank and provided almost 4,9 million medical consultations there during 2017. The UNRWA health programme takes a 'Family Health Team' approach to health care, which emphasizes holistic, people-centred care and addresses cross-cutting issues that impact health, such as diet and physical activity, education, gender-based violence, child protection, poverty and community development.
Austria is a long-standing supporter of UNRWA, and especially the Agency's health programme, having contributed a total of USD 43 million since 2000.
The contribution from Austria will strengthen efforts to ensure Palestine refugees' health is protected. It will be used to provide the adequate and timely availability of essential medicines and supplies as well as educational materials for UNRWA Health Centers and Clinics in the West Bank and Gaza.
"This contribution is a further, tangible example of Austria's firm and sustained commitment to human rights for Palestine refugees, especially of the fundamental human right to adequate health care. This right is a unique and inalienable part of comprehensive human security. As such, it is particularly important in the current, very difficult circumstances, in which saving lives is our top priority" said the head of ADA's local office in Ramallah, Andrea Nasi, at the joint signing of the financial agreement.
On behalf of UNRWA, Chief of Donor Relations Marc Lassouaoui thanked the Austrian government for their steady and generous support: "I welcome this new contribution, which comes at a time of great needs for the Agency."
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the UN 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 and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA's services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall.