Published: 2018-05-23 13:19
Last Updated: 2018-05-23 13:28
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) released its annual Health Report for 2017 on Tuesday, charting over 68 years of progress and the evolution to meet the changing health needs of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and Syria.
The annual report coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “Catastrophe” shedding light on the world’s longest standing protracted refugee crisis, and is a reminder that the population of over 5.3 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA continue to live amidst conflict, violence and occupation, and aspire to a just and lasting solution to their plight.
The report underlines UNRWA’s commitment to universal health coverage in its free of charge services made available to all Palestine refugees, stressing that screening and outreach activities for non-communicable diseases were strengthened.
According to the report, in 2017 the 3,320 UNRWA health staff has served 3.7 million refugees, which is 61 percent of the about six million eligible persons. As for family planning, pregnancy and vaccinations, the agency was able to provide comprehensive care for entire families.
The number of users who continued to use modern contraceptive methods has increased by 4.2 percent in 2017 and 92 percent of pregnant women paid at least four visits to clinics before giving birth. Vaccination coverage has been close to 100 percent for more than a decade which has lead to a substantial decrease in communicable diseases.
On the other hand, The number of patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing consistently by approximately 5.0 percent per year.
“Protecting and promoting the health of registered Palestine refugees, is at the heart of our mandate, enabling them to achieve the highest attainable level of health until a just and lasting resolution of the Palestine refugee issue is achieved, based on UN resolutions and international law”, remarked Dr. Akihiro Seita, UNRWA Director of Health, adding “We believe that there is no health without peace, justice and dignity.”