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Source: USAID West Bank & Gaza
10 January 2005

USAID earmarks $21 million for health of Palestinian mothers and children

RAMALLAH, West Bank --
The American Government Monday launched a three-year project aimed at significantly enhancing the quality of health and nutrition services available to Palestinian mothers and children.

The $21 million undertaking is being funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

"Our goal is to bring a standardized package of top quality health and nutrition services to Palestinians as close to their homes as possible," said Sherry Carlin, head of USAID's Health and Humanitarian Assistance Sector. "This project is designed to have a far-reaching impact on the public health facilities offered to the most vulnerable women and children in the West Bank and Gaza."

The new primary health care venture will expand the considerable public health advances already made by USAID through the Maram Project, including upgrading essential diagnostic, treatment, and counseling skills of health care providers; enhancing the management skills of clinic managers; and introducing effective health education messages to promote healthy lifestyles.

The project is expected to result in measurable improvements in women's and children's health and nutritional status. The project's initial targets will be to improve the availability of essential services and counseling for women of reproductive age; to upgrade well-baby care and infant and child nutrition; and to improve the management of common childhood illnesses.

The project will focus on strengthening the capacity of the Palestinian public health community to plan, implement and sustain primary health care services at the community level. It will promote healthier lifestyles, disease prevention and birth spacing by improving the teaching and counseling skills of health care providers, educators and community leaders.

The project team will train and work closely with Palestinian health care providers in internationally accepted best practices for diagnostic and patient case management.

Team members will work side-by-side as mentors with professional Palestinian health care personnel to improve the administration and management of primary health care clinics and to ensure clinic sustainability.

By the end of the project, 60 percent of the non-refugee population of reproductive age women and children under five years of age (approximately 290,000 women and 237,600 children) should have access to an essential package of quality maternal and child health and nutrition services.

The American organization, John Snow International Research & Training Institute (JSI), will lead the health team joined by American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), Emerging Markets Group, and The Manoff Group.

The project will have two main offices, one in Ramallah and one in Gaza City with three satellite offices, located in Hebron, Nablus, and Khan Younis.

USAID is a U.S. government agency that provides economic development and humanitarian assistance overseas. Since 1994, USAID's West Bank and Gaza Mission has distributed more than $1.3 billion in assistance to Palestinians.

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